Though they pile up bad press and stir political debate, there is little doubt that people love weapons. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms estimates that about 2 million used guns change hands each year. Old-time instruments of violence are, increasingly, the investment choice of collectors seeking shelter from economic turbulence. For more on the hunt for antique weapons, click here.
Plus, check out 10 pricey pieces that have made foes — and pocket books — tremble.
By Bryan Harris
Posted 14 December 2011
This suit of European armor, circa 1570, is an example of plate armor – sheets of interconnected steel. Plate armor replaced riveted mail in the 14th century, according to Britannica.com. This set was sold by William Fagan for $56,000.
The VO Royal TD (Kudu), handmade in Sweden by Ulf and Viggo Olsson in 2007. VO’s catalogue says its stock is European walnut root that was air-dried for three years. The rifle has interchangeable barrels and hand-engraved animal portraiture covering all metal parts and gold inlays. It is priced at 95.000 euros (about $127,000). Ulf Olsson is the son of Viggo Olsson, who founded VO in 1977.
A Scottish basket-hilted broadsword, sold by William Fagan for $6,900. According to Fagan, the market for Scottish weapons is healthy because of the lore surrounding Scotland’s rebellion against the British crown.
The VO H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque Rifle sold in 2009 for 650.000 euros ($846,000). VO calls the rifle a tribute to the ”magnificent mosque” built in Abu Dhabi by the sheikh. The rifle’s decoration reflects architectural details from the mosque.
An antique engraved German broadsword that, according to the seller, was made for a nobleman. Broadswords, used throughout Europe for centuries, had relatively wide blades and, often had basket hilts to protect the wielder’s hand. It is offered by William Fagan for $38,000.
This rare north Italian barbute dates from the late 15th to early 16th centuries. It is one piece and has small holes for crests. Sold by Christie’s Auction House for more than $81,000.
Pair of Halberds, circa 1695, from the guard of Augustus the Strong, king of Poland, sold for $13,200 to the Palace of the Dukes of Lithuania by William Fagan. Halberds typically consist of axe blades atop a long staff. According to Britannica.com, they were widely used by foot soldiers against horsemen in Europe during the 14th to the 16th centuries.
The VO Falcon Edition is the most expensive line of rifles in the world. This one has a list sales price of 575.000 euros (about $767,000). The VO Falcon has a Damascus steel barrel, a stock made of walnut root, and is hand engraved with portraits of peregrine and saker falcons.
A nickel-plated .38-caliber Police Positive six-shot double-action Colt revolver, with checkered walnut grips bearing the Colt medallion. While similar pistols often sell for around $1,000, this one came with a sworn affidavit from a family member of Al Capone stating that the shiny six-shooter once belonged to Scar Face himself. Christie’s Auction House sold it in June for $109,000.