Rock Island’s Upcoming Auction

The auctions that Rock Island is really known for are its Premier Auctions, which happen a few times per year and have really phenomenal goodies. But in between those are smaller regional auctions, which are still nothing to scoff at – the one this coming weekend has about 6100 guns up for sale. The hitch is that most of these guns are packaged together into lots of 2, 3, 5, and 10 or more guns that you have to bid on together. That’s a problem if you just want one specific item, but it’s also a big opportunity if you have some money available to play with.

Since virtually all the lots are intended to sell for $1000 or more, lots of folks are more or less excluded from bidding right off the bat (and many of the folks with big money probably aren’t interested in the non-exotic stuff). But when you look at the individual prices that lot bid represents, they can be pretty good. Take, for example, Lot 1486:

Rock Island lot 1486 rifles

Here you have a Swedish Mauser, a No4 MkII Enfield, a Polish Mosin trainer, a Czech VZ-24, Yugo M48, and Arisaka Type 38 carbine. The estimated selling point is $800-$1200. simply averaged out, that’s $133-$200 each. That’s about right for the Yugo and maybe the trainer, but it’s a great deal for a nice Type 38 like that, as well as the Enfield and Swede. Here’s another example, Lot 1580:

rialot 1580

Nothing really spectacular, but the estimated price is $900-$1500 (or calculated differently, $113-$188 per gun). And if you take a closer look at the descriptions, you’ll notice that the SMLE is actually a .22RF trainer (neat) and the Swedish Mauser at the top has a Finnish “SA” service mark – pretty cool!

Of course, there are risks. Unless you show up in person at the auction, the only information you have to work with are left- and right-side overall photos and a pretty brief description. Things like bore condition, matching numbers, unusual markings or variations are all left up in the air. If you are looking for that one specific thing, this my not be a good place for you to jump in…but if you know what you are looking at and can caveat emptor, then carpe arma! (apologies to anyone who actually speaks Latin…)

How do you participate? Well, assuming you don’t go in person, you can bid by telephone or internet. Sign-up is pretty easy through RIA’s web site, and you can easily place as many online bids as you like. The online bids also offer a great way to calmly assess what a lot is actually worth to you and bid just that amount, without risking auction fever luring you into inflated bidding. If that’s too detached, you can bid by phone – place a phone bid on the web site, and they will call you when the item comes up and let you bid live through the phone. It’s still pretty fast-paced, though (roughly 30 seconds per lot), so you should still have a good idea what you’re willing to do ahead of time.

FYI to our non-US readers; they will ship outside the States, so if you can legally import guns, you should take a look at what they’re offering. The prices will probably be better than what you can find locally…

I’m looking forward to the event, and I’m bidding on a bunch of things (nothing that I’m posting here, though – ha!). I did spend a bunch of time looking through the catalog, and here are a few specific things that jumped out at me:

Cool military-style optics: Lot 835
Funky derringers, and a Protector: Lot 136
A pair of Colt Lightning pump-action rifles: Lot 1043
Nice starter US WW2 collection (the Garand is missing a gas cylinder lock): Lot 1823
Want a Reichsrevolver? Try Lots 204, 205, 208, 1544, or 3304

There are a ton of commercial/sporting guns in the catalog as well, but I don’t have the detailed knowledge in those areas to pick out the gems that are hiding in there. You’ll have to go check out the listings yourself…but the action starts this Friday morning, so don’t procrastinate!


  1. That’s not a funky derringer, it’s a Reid Knuckledusters.
    The weapon was produced between 1868 & 1882 by James Reid in the upstate New York factory in the Catskill Mountains.

  2. In the second lot pictured, what is the 5th rifle down? I had one for a brief while before the internet, and never was sure what it was!

  3. Thanks for the heads-up, Ian! As usual, your information is timely and potentially most useful, particularly with regard to the lot sales. I am personally not in a position to take advantage of this right now ( ah, the exigencies of life ), but I do know someone who is an avid collector who might be. Thanks once again for unselfishly sharing this.

  4. Great stuff here – SMLE .22 trainer??? Haven’t seen one in years – last one I missed out on – didn’t have the $300 my bud needed – it was a consignment or I’d’a walked with it…even if I HAD the money – I have no more space…

    CB in FL – have passed this to other C&R buds…

  5. At our club show on 1 June I bought a PILE of RIA catalogs for 10 bux… mostly 2012 catalogs – the photography alone was worth the money!!! PLUS – now I’ve got a hell of a color reference library.

    CB in FL

      • Cool, looking forward to it! I managed to nab an FN-49 Luxembourg Contract, SVT-40, and Norwegian Krag in one lot, so I’m pretty happy about that.

          • Must have had a low limit then, I think those rifles are worth way more than the price I paid for it if I were to get realistic prices from them on Gunbroker or trader boards. Still, looking forward to your AAR on the auction. I’m sure you snagged some neat pieces.

        • That has got to be a real “coup” as far as a firearms lot auction is concerned — congratulations!

  6. I know this is a bit off-topic ( but still closely-related )— has a small lot of CZ-82 pistols in 9mm x 18 Makarov going at $279.95 each. From what I can see, they appear to be in “very good” to “excellent” condition with fully-intact polygonal barrel rifling and some wear on the external bluing. Hope this helps some of you a bit.

  7. Before I forget, has also received a new batch of vz.52 pistols but will not be releasing them for sale until they can get the current backlog of vz.58 assault rifle orders resolved. The vz.52’s will probably be available in both “unissued” and “excellent but issued” condition, for $305.00 and $285.00 respectively or at least some price level reasonably close, if past experience is anything to go by. I would advise keeping an eye on this if you are interested.

    For those not entirely familiar with the vz.52, please note that it was designed to fire the Czech Model 48 7.62mm x 25 cartridge, which is about 20% more powerful than the standard Soviet 7.62mm x 25 Tokarev Type P cartridge. The end result is that the vz.52 will safely chamber and fire both cartridge types, but other weapons specified for the 7.62mm x 25 Tokarev Type P cartridge may not safely do the same for the Model 48 cartridge.

    Happy hunting to all who might be interested!

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