Collection of specialty weaponry draws interest, crowd to Waubeka sale
It was a convergence of traditional and digital commerce on Saturday when Ramblin’ Rose Auction Co. in Waubeka hosted a major sale of military memorabilia and weaponry.
Much of the display area of the auction house at N5472 Cigrand Dr. looked like an armory from the Smithsonian Institute. The items were from a lifelong collection accumulated by a private estate in northern Wisconsin.
Several tables were covered with collectible weaponry from ages past — including a 29-inch-long London blunderbuss dating to the 1700s, a Civil War-era military carbine, a Thompson submachine gun and a double-barrel flintlock complete with powder horn.
There was also a diverse selection of helmets, swords, knives, ammunition and flags, along with the kind of artwork, collectibles and furniture typically found at a high-end estate sale.
But it was the historical arsenal that drew most of the bidders to Waubeka, along with would-be buyers from around the globe who kept track of prices and sales on 70 pieces of prized military items via AuctionZip.com.
“We have been working with AuctionZip for three years on specialty auctions,” said Ken Rose, who owns the auction house with his wife Sue.
Many of those entering online bids, and even some who showed up in person, were looking for hard-to-find items they could resell at a profit.
As license auctioneer Tina Treskow cajoled live bids for the collectibles, online bids were monitored and updated as prices came in.
Most of the highest prices for the collectibles were submitted by online bidders, topped by $1,350 for a 1927 Thompson Model A-1 .45 caliber semi-automatic carbine and $725 for an 1874 Remington & Sons 45/70 rifle with bayonet in prime condition.
An online bidder also placed the high bid of $425 for what was billed as a “Japanese samurai ninja” sword.
Turning even more old school, a collection of 34 prehistoric arrowheads were sold for $40.
In addition, Rose said many of the silver coins in the estate drew bids of more than $300.
After many years in the auction business, he said, online references have made for a more knowledgeable buying public.
“People have gotten much more fussy on what they collect compared to years ago,” Rose said.
He said about 200 people showed up in person for last weekend’s sale, a number that was considerably lower than the 300 to 400 who often attend mixed estate auctions.
Rose said the lower attendance was due to the more limited appeal of the military memorabilia, especially with local buyers.
Even though the weapons up for sale were largely antiques, prospective bidders were warned at the outset of the auction that they must be at least 18 years old to buy rifles and 21 years old to buy handguns, and convicted felons were not eligible to buy either.
Image Information: THE BIDDING WAS robust at Ramblin’ Rose Auction Co. in Waubeka on Saturday, with much of the attention devoted to a varied collection of guns and weaponry. Clockwise from upper left, prospective bidders inspected a collection of vintage rifles. Photos by Mark Jaeger