Extraordinary Arsenal of Vintage Weapons, Militaria & Antiquities to Cross Block

Frank, an employee at Stevens Auction Company, models a French curass body armor with French dragon helmet. The armor is part of the vintage weapons, militaria and rare antiquities that belonged to the late James Larry Bragg—a direct descendant of Civil War General Braxton Bragg—which will be sold Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011.

ABERDEEN, Miss. – An extraordinary arsenal of vintage weapons, militaria and rare antiquities, including hundreds of historical armaments from the 11th and 12th centuries that belonged to the late James Larry Bragg—a direct descendant of Civil War General Braxton Bragg—will be sold Saturday, Oct. 8, by Stevens Auction Company.

“The highlight of this auction will be the weaponry in the Bragg collection, which consists of historical armaments, plus weapons from modern conflicts like World Wars I and II,” said Dwight Stevens of Stevens Auction Company. “This is a rare opportunity to see and then bid on weapons dating as far back as the Crusades.”

One of the quieter aspects of the sale will be Bragg’s extensive library of hundreds of books. Included are early volumes of poetry, books on philosophy, war journals and firearms references. Bragg had many passions in his long and fruitful life, including artistry, jewelry design, music (he once played bass for Charlie Rich) and rebuilding E-type Jaguar cars.

But first and foremost, he was an avid collector of historical military weapons, armor and paraphernalia. His collection included a significant number of Indo-Persian edged weapons and armor he acquired from Fagan Arms, Inc. of Michigan. Fagan purchased them from Sir Frank H. Bowden (1909-2002), the famous British arms collector and heir to the Raleigh Bicycles fortune.

Shields and body armor will feature a Dahl—the Indian shield with a spike in the center, decorated with applied Katar, 15 ½ inches in diameter—and French curass body armor with French dragon helmet. There will also be a rare and unusual three-barrel hand cannon and a highly collectible mid-19th century vampire killing kit in a wood case, with all accessories.

Axes will include a battle axe from central India with a carved wooden shaft, 30 inches long with a six-inch blade; and a large Persian double-headed battle axe with extraordinary decorations. Two rifles worth noting are an Arab plain stock flint lock rifle with a migulet dog lock; and a German Wheelock rifle. Also sold will be a 19th century Imperial Russian helmet.

Swords and knives will be offered in abundance, and many are rare, historical one-of-a-kinds. Expected top lots will include a Katar (the oldest of Indian knives), 18 inches long, with all-metal construction; a Scottish basket-hilted broadsword, 46 inches overall; and an Indian Talwar (an unusual type straight blade with serrated edge) measuring 42 inches in overall length.

This Indian Shamsir with cast brass lion head hilt and 37-inch-long scabbard will be among the items auctioned.

This large Persian double-headed battle axe is covered with with extraordinary decorations.

Other examples will feature a Kabyle Snaphaunce Lock (5 feet, 1 inch long, made in North Africa); an Indian Shamsir with cast brass lion head hilt and 37-inch-long scabbard; a silver mounted Burmese Dha (the national sword of Burma), with two-handled grip; and an Indian two-handled Firangi with two shallow grooves and metal hand guard, 48 inches long.

Also offered will be an early Ceylonese Kastane, 25 inches long, with dragon head pommel and wooden grip; an Indian metal Shamsir with etched Kris type blade (ca. 1800), 33 inches long; a Nepalese Kora, with engraving on the blade; a German two-handled sword with leather covered grip and cross guard; and an Indo-Persian Firangi with curved blade and wooden grip.

Among the rare and unusual firearms in the auction is this three-barreled hand cannon.

Another rare piece is this antique German Wheelock rifle.

This Scottish basket-hilted broadsword measures 46 inches in length overall.

This highly collectible mid-19th century vampire killing kit, in a wood case, still contains all of its accessories.

James Larry Bragg, Sr., was born in Covington, Tenn., on March 3, 1941. He was a self-employed porcelain dental lab technician in the Memphis area for 45 years and in his free time, enjoyed attending gun, coin and Civil War shows with friends and frequenting antique shops whenever he could. He passed away in February, leaving behind a wife, Audrey, a son, James, and twin grandsons.

Bragg’s collection can be seen at an open house preview on Friday, Oct. 7, from 1-6 p.m.; and on Saturday, auction day, from 8-10 a.m. Stevens Auction Company’s gallery is located one block north of the historic Adams-French Mansion in Aberdeen, a town in northeastern Mississippi, not far from Tupelo. To order a free auction catalog call 662.369.2200.

There will be no online bidding component for this auction, but phone bids will be taken with advance arrangements. Terms of the auction will be cash, major credit cards and pre-approved checks. All sales will be final, with no warranty expressed or implied. A 12-percent buyer’s premium will be charged on each total purchase price, with a 2-percent discount for cash, business and personal checks with proper ID, or wire transfers. A 7-percent sales tax will apply to most purchases.

For more information about this auction, call 662.369.2200, e-mail to stevensauction@bellsouth.net or visit the Stevens Auction Company website.

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