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Holtís Auction
Unread 03-24-2023, 04:45 AM   #1
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Joe Graziano
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Default Holtís Auction

I was able to attended the Holt’s auction on Tuesday, something I’ve always wanted to do, and am happy to report a great experience. I bid on a few items and in the end, was happy to win a John Rigby sidelock ejector, made in 1911. I’ll post the item description at the end.

First, I have to say that Holt’s is a first class operation in every way. The location, on the Royal Sandringham estate in Wolferton, is beautiful. Their buildings are quaint, certainly not fancy, but neat to see. The gun rooms are absolutely packed. It’s a bit overwhelming, especially in the sealed bid room, it’s rack upon rack of guns. I could spend days in there just looking, and they will allow you to look all you want. Nick Holt, the owner, is a very fine gentleman, professional and kind as can be. Although it was an extremely busy day and I was obviously not one of the big buyers, we spent quite a bit of time talking. He was very helpful when it came to advice and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him.

And that brings me to advice, if at all possible, go in person, especially for a large purchase. Holt’s does an excellent job describing and photographing the guns, but they are an auction house and their job is to move guns for clients. They do it very well. Also, get a condition report on any gun of interest. It’s free and very useful. I went early on Tuesday morning and checked each gun I was interested in buying. In doing so, I was able to eliminate several. That helped tremendously. The Purdey I was most interested in was, in person, spectacular! Not all were but that one, oh my, it was perfect. Sadly, the bidding went beyond my purchase budget and it went to another good home.

This brings me to the gun I did win, the Rigby. I hadn’t noted it going in but when I saw it, wow. It fit me perfectly, setup exactly as I wanted, and in near new condition after expert refurbishing. There were three Rigby shotguns and this one, thankfully, went for the lowest amount. It was, to me, the nicest gun. And this is why attending is important. The next lot was also a Rigby but with the hallowed rising bite. It’s cool, but entirely unnecessary on a shotgun. The sleeving job on the gun was not nearly as good as the other, which was almost invisible, something you’d only see on close inspection. However, it went for more. In fact, there were a few that went for surprising prices, nearly always to an online bidder. Condition reports are keys to success. I saw the 20 gauge Parker Reproduction at it was absolutely beautiful.

As for the experience itself, it was a heck of a lot of fun. The Holt’s staff is fantastic and couldn’t be kinder or more welcoming. It’s also a great opportunity to meet some of the most prominent people in the British gun trade, all in one location. Hold onto your wallet, though, because the guns on offer in the main auction are just incredible. It was hard to resist bidding a few times. Below is a description of the gun I was fortunate to win and a few pics from the day.

See everyone in a couple weeks in NC!

Joe

Below are the original specifications from the John Rigby & Co letter:
No 17597
Action Number – 2866
Barrel Number – 2961
Date Sold - 9th August 1910
Description – Best Top Lever , Ejector, hammerless Double Gun (New Pattern)
Weight-6lbs 12ozs
Bore - 12
Barrel - 30”
Length of Stock – 14 11/16”
Remarks Gun No. Three of a Trio

———————-

The gun as bought from Holt’s:
JOHN RIGBY & CO.
A 12-BORE SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 17597,
circa 1911, 30in. sleeved nitro barrels (in 2010), retaining original broad rib engraved 'John Rigby & Co. 43 Sackville St. London' in gothic script, the breech end with bold scroll engraving and gold-inlaid '3', 2 3/4in. chambers, bored approx. imp. cyl. and 1/4 choke, carved leaf fences, toplever gold-inlaid '3', automatic safety with gold-inlaid 'SAFE' detail, dipped-edge lockplates, best bold border and acanthus scroll engraving, brushed bright and reblued finish overall, 14 7/8in. well-figured stock (likely replacement) including 5/8in. recoil pad, weight 7lb., in a lightweight leather case
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Unread 03-24-2023, 08:42 AM   #2
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Bill Murphy
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How will you get it home?
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Unread 03-24-2023, 11:24 AM   #3
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I don’t plan to bring it to the US for now. It will stay in storage in the UK for me to use it there. When I eventually move back, I’ll have an importer bring it in.
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Unread 03-24-2023, 11:48 AM   #4
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Joe,

Sounds like a great day at Holts. The picture in the auction room doesn’t look like many people attended in person. The prices did seem to beat a lot of the high estimates. I think we Americans are driving the prices up at UK auctions.

Great looking Rigby! Have fun with it over there.

Ken
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Unread 03-24-2023, 03:26 PM   #5
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I should have taken a better picture of the live auction. That was early in the day when they were auctioning accessories. The main action started after lunch and the room filled quite a bit. Also, there were people lining the walls at tables, taking calls and accepting bids on line. It took a great deal of skill and some patience for the auctioneer to manage online bids from multiple platforms, on several phones and in the room. He did a great job.
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