The expected top lot at the upcoming George J. Bisacca estate auction is this Civil War-era Gatling Gun, Model 1883, with Accles feed mechanism.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – More than 500 lots of important Civil War items, rare and vintage firearms and all manner of militaria will cross the block in an auction featuring the lifetime collection of the late George J. Bisacca, whose mainly Civil War collection was housed in the Eastover Resort complex in Lenox, Mass.
The Saturday, Aug. 15 auction will be hosted by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery—the first time Fontaine’s will have dedicated an entire auction to war memorabilia. Company president John Fontaine said the early buzz on Bisacca’s collection has been encouraging. “The initial reaction to the news within the collecting community has been tremendous,” Fountain said. “Mr. Bisacca owned an astounding, museum-quality collection that will be selling to the highest bidder, without reserve. This is an opportunity for collectors that may never come along again.”
Included in Bisacca’s collection is a Colt M 1883 Gatling Gun, named after the man who invented it and a precursor to the modern-day machine gun. It has 10 barrels and pumped out more than 600 rounds per minute. The one being sold is fully operational and is in fantastic condition. There is also a second Gatling Gun in this auction.
A Coehorn mortar mounted cannon on carriage.
The cannons in Bisacca’s collection are no less impressive, including a British 1812 Naval mount cannon, a Coehorn mortar cannon, an 1861 Civil War ordinance rifled cannon with CSA markings, a Mann Smooth Bare prototype cannon, a Mann rifled prototype cannon, an 1892 Hotchkiss mountain rifled cannon, other cannons and cannonballs.
Also from the Bisacca estate: hundreds of firearms (including dozens of rifles), cannon shells, drums, bullets and other projectiles, pistols, muskets, saddles, swords, bayonets, canteens, belts and buckles, period uniforms, spurs, daguerreotypes, powder horns, ramrods and more. Most items are from the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World Wars I and II.
A Civil War drum from the 70th regiment, Ohio infantry.
The Bisacca collection comprises well over half of what will be offered. “His has been called one of the largest privately owned Civil War collections in the world,” Fontaine said. “It has been enjoyed by thousands of visitors to Eastover, from visiting schoolchildren to seasoned Civil War buffs. We will have people from every part of the country coming to this very important auction.”
Bisacca died in 1983 and his collection has remained on display at the Eastover Resort virtually untouched ever since. Bisacca—an Italian immigrant who came from humble beginnings, only making it through the ninth grade—developed a fierce passion for the Civil War and devoured countless books on the subject. He also went on excursions to hunt for relics from the era.
A Civil War frock coat in excellent condition.
Bisacca’s prized collection will be brought from its special room at Eastover to Fontaine’s Auction Gallery for the Aug. 15 sale. A packed house is expected, and online bidding will be run though LiveAuctioneers.com, Proxibid.com and directly through the Fontaine’s website. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. A color catalog may be ordered by calling Fontaine’s at (413) 448-8922. Previews will be held the week prior.
For more information, Fontaine’s Auction Gallery can be reached at (413) 448-8922 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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