Auction Report: Astronomical Regulator, Henry Rifle Pace Cottone Auctions Sale

This rare .44 caliber Henry rifle, purchased by the U.S. Government for use during the Civil War, sold for $48,300 at an sale held by Cottone Auctions in August.

This rare .44 caliber Henry rifle, purchased by the U.S. Government for use during the Civil War, sold for $48,300 at an sale held by Cottone Auctions in August.

GENESEO, N.Y. – A vintage E. Howard & Co. (Boston) Astronomical Observatory Regulator clock soared to $52,900 and a rare and antique Henry rifle purchased by the U.S. government for use during the Civil War hit a bull’s eye for $48,300 at a pair of sales held by Cottone Auctions at its facility here in Geneseo.

The events were dedicated to antique guns and historical books and featured the estate collection of John Wallace of Pavilion, N.Y. and fine clocks, including the collection of Joe Butta of Larchmont, N.Y.

“These were guy sales for the most part,” Sam Cottone of Cottone Auctions said with a chuckle. “Lots of guns and clocks—let’s say there weren’t many ladies in attendance either day.”

This vintage E. Howard & Co. (Boston) Astronomical Observatory Regulator clock sold for $52,900, toping the August event hosted by Cottone Auctions.

This vintage E. Howard & Co. (Boston) Astronomical Observatory Regulator clock sold for $52,900, toping the August event hosted by Cottone Auctions.

Nevertheless, both auctions enjoyed a brisk turnout—about 150-200 people per sale. Some 250 lots came up for bid at the guns and books auction, while a little more than 200 clocks changed hands. The online bidding component for both events was facilitated by Artfact.com, and Cottone said “quite a few” absentee and phone bids were recorded both days, adding “it was a good month.”

“I was happy with the results of the first auction. The market for antique guns has been good and remains quite strong. As for books, they were mainly European titles, and the market for those is also strong. There weren’t many American books in the sale,” Cottone said. “As for the second auction, I was pleased with that as well. Clock enthusiasts are very specialized. They look for specific things at a sale.”

The Howard clock and the Henry rifle were the top lots in their respective sales. The Howard boasted a cherry case with original rosewood finish, original signed and silvered engraved brass dial, brass engraved 8-day time-only pendulum and unusual 24-hour hand. The .44 caliber Henry featured a period cavalry leather scabbard and the official mark of government inspector Charles George Chapman.

Following are highlights from the Aug. 15, 2009 antique guns and historical books auction (all prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium):

• Another Henry rifle performed well, as an early first model (serial #1588) hit $32,200. The totally original and untouched .44 rimfire caliber firearm featured a nice uncleaned patina on the brass frame and butt plate. Also, a vintage box of 53 rounds of ammunition for Henry’s Repeating Rifles climbed to $7,590. The green box was intact and of the “Bold 4’s” type, with a raised “H” in a circle headstamp.

This five-volume atlas of the world, by Jacques Nicolas Bellin (Paris, 1764), with 575 maps, sold for $17,250.

This five-volume atlas of the world, by Jacques Nicolas Bellin (Paris, 1764), with 575 maps, sold for $17,250.

• A five-volume atlas of the world, by Jacques Nicolas Bellin (Paris, 1764), titled <i>”Le Petit Atlas Maritime: Receuil de Cartes et plans des Quatre Parties du Monde,”</i> with 575 copper-engraved maps, went for $17,250. Also, a book titled “Texas in 1840, or, The Emigrant’s Guide to the New Republic” (New York, W.W. Allen, 1840), with a hand-colored litho of Austin on the frontpiece, brought $4,140.

• Most of the day’s top lots were dominated by Winchester, a name familiar to and coveted by collectors. A Model 1866 (second model) .44 rimfire caliber rifle with 24-inch barrel (serial #20478) fetched $24,150; a Model 1886 .50 caliber (express) rifle with 26-inch barrel (serial #102658) garnered $21,160; and a Model 1886 .45/70 caliber saddle ring carbine rifle (serial #38881) commanded $10.062.

• Other Winchesters included a Model 1886 .45/70 caliber rifle (serial #102958), with 26-inch round barrel ($10,235); a Model 1885 .44/40 caliber saddle ring carbine rifle (serial #75759), with standard 15-inch barrel ($8,280); a Model 1886 .33 caliber rifle (serial #155352), with 24-inch takedown barrel ($6,325); and a Model 1886 .45/90 caliber rifle (serial #32882) with 26-inch barrel ($8,510).

• Rounding out the Winchesters, two rifles breezed to identical sale prices of $6,326. One was a Model 1873 (third model), .44 caliber (serial #139830), with 28-inch special-order barrel. The other was a Model 1876 (second model), .45/60 caliber, with a standard 28-inch barrel. Also, a Model 1873 (third model) .44/40 caliber rifle (serial #153295) rose to $4,888, while a Model 1876 “50 Express” hit $4,600.

Following are highlights from the Aug. 29, 2009 fine clocks auction (all prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium):

This Juvet table-top clock with 11-inch globe and gilt bronze 3-dolphin base, mounted on marble, sold for $24,150.

This Juvet table-top clock with 11-inch globe and gilt bronze 3-dolphin base, mounted on marble, sold for $24,150.

• A rare Juvet table-top clock with 11-inch globe, gilt bronze three-dolphin base, mounted on marble, 34 inches tall, with painted Roman numerals, sold for $24,150; an unusual and scarce figural magician oil night timepiece with original polychrome, patina and gilt decoration rose to $5,405; and a Sawin & Dyer of Boston lyre clock with carved mahogany case in a fine old finish topped out at $4,600.

• A fine Joakim Hill (Flemington, N.J.) tall case clock in a fine inlaid mahogany case with fluted ¼-columns and a nice old patina realized $18,975; a very rare Laporte Hubbell solar globe shelf clock in a carved walnut case in the Gothic style, one of only a few examples known, wowed the crowd for $10,350; and a Joakim Hill tall case clock with original signed and painted iron dial achieved $9,200.

• A beautiful Seth Thomas #14 floor regulator with a carved and burl walnut case in the original finish, two side finials and wood bezel around the dial earned $16,905; a fine and rare Simon Willard & Son banjo clock in a mahogany case with stenciled front in original finish and stenciling commanded $14,950; and a J.C. Brown acorn shelf clock with laminated rosewood and mahogany case hit $9,200.

• Rounding out the top lots: an 18th century Italian bracket clock in an ebonized case with brass finials brought $4,140; a Howard & Davis (Boston) #1 banjo clock in a cherry case with nice old patina hammered for $4,830; a Sawin & Dyer (Boston) lyre clock in a carved mahogany case with old finish and good color went for $4,600; and an Asa Munger (Auburn, N.Y.) Empire shelf clock brought $4,140.

For more information about these two auctions, call (585) 243-3100, e-mail to scottone@rochester.rr.com or visit the Cottone Auctions Web site.

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  1. Mark Aman says:

    Cottone Auctions is truly the most horrible business I have ever dealt with in my entire life. They threatened me, their actual client, with bodily harm when I came to retrieve my items from them. Communication was nonexistent unless you continued to ask for updates. They actually took our items out of the auction we agreed upon and placed them in some other sale on another date without any authorization or permission whatsoever. Seemingly polite initially they turned icy cold when they realized that their perception of value of our items (they are the experts supposedly) was far lower than they imagined. In the end they refused to return a call or answer an email while our items were several hundred miles away their disposition completely unknown to us. When I told Sam Cottone that I was not pleased and that no one had ever treated me worse as a client his only reaction was to threaten me with a hired tubby goon who claimed to be a law enforcement officer of dubious quality. That was it. No apology. No explanation. A threat. I pointed out to his son Matt Cottone that he never returned a call or an email His reply was, “I am going to put you on your head.” Does that mean throw me to the ground, assault me, or murder me? I don’t know really. I invited him to give it his best shot since he obviously is completely oblivious to my background, training, and armament. The truth is neither are men enough to do what they pay others to attempt to do for them. I have never been threatened by business owners before when I expressed extremely correct indignation at how I had been treated. One person who left a very valuable item with him was 88 years old. Matt Cottone hung up on him during a call. When the elderly man tried again he feigned having another call and hung up on him again. When the elderly gentleman said he would come and get it since Cottone refused to pay to ship it back to him or even to pay for someone to come and get it, this despite the fact that Cottone Auctions violated their agreement and his trust, Matt Cottone invited him to come get it. An 88 year old man who lives more than an 11 hour drive away. Come get it. Would Cottone put his own Grandfather on an 11 hour odyssey across four states to retrieve his property from someone who has no business being in business to begin with? Who knows? All I know is if you choose to do business with these cheap low class thugs you may be in for an experience unlike no other. Scratch the cheap veneer of Cottone Auctions and you might not like the dishonesty, lack of customer service, and thuggery that you find just below the surface. Bad business all the way around. You would be much better served finding a more reputable firm to work with when you are auctioning any item of value.