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Re: Julia auction
Posted by Tom Trevor on Friday, 3 October 2014, at 9:18 p.m., in response to Re: Julia auction, posted by Tom Trevor on Friday, 3 October 2014, at 6:00 p.m.
Rock Island Auctions Distances Itself from James D. Julia’s “Fake” Guns By Robert Farago on October 2, 2014
Written by Rock Island Auctions’ Joel R. Kolander:
In the business of firearms auctions, it is simply an unavoidable fact of life that one is going to come across what is known as a spurious firearm. For those unfamiliar with the term, “spurious” is the most gracious way of calling something a fake. Phony. Bogus. At its most innocent, a fake or counterfeit item can be sold as such. Someone may want that Russian Contract 1911 pistol with spurious Cyrillic text, as a representation of the original but at only a fraction of the cost. In fact, many replica cars are sold just the same way. You wouldn’t find me turning down a replica of a 1968 AC Cobra, but I’m definitely not going to pay the same price as the original. There is a market for such pieces given that they are priced accordingly and disclosed as such to the buying public. Much like the AC Cobra example, replicas can be extremely desirable and a lot of fun . . .
Sometimes, either collectors, and even auction houses, can make mistakes in good faith. Perhaps they in possession of such a meticulously crafted forgery that it is impossible to tell the difference save for some of the world’s foremost experts. Is anyone to be held to blame in such an event except the forger? No, for both parties acted in good faith and intent with what they thought was a “real” object. However, if after the fact the buyer were to find that their item was not 100% as claimed, then it would be the duty of the seller to make it right. It is exactly scenarios like this why Rock Island Auction Company offers a guarantee of the headline of every single item in their Premiere Firearms Auctions. Should that item not be as advertised in the item’s headline, RIAC will make it right via a full refund. We even put it in the front of every Premiere Auction Catalog right there in the Terms and Conditions.
Honesty and integrity are two qualities indispensable to an auction house, or any selling business. It’s as simple as knowing that if you burn someone once, they’re not going to return, and if there are too many people who question their transactions, the sellers carefully built reputation can nose-dive faster than German U-boat. Businesses stand to gain much more from positive experiences and good word-of-mouth advertising, then they could ever achieve by being less than completely truthful.
It is with that dedication and responsibility to fairness, that we can examine the last kind of spurious arms: out and out fakes maliciously sold as the genuine article for profit. It goes without saying that the faking of firearms hurts the collecting community. Not only is it fraudulent, it erodes trust, and could potentially lower the prices of authentic items. Jim Supica, current Museum Director of NRA Museums, once detailed several types of fraud in an article he wrote for the Blue Book of Gun Values.
– Aging and modifying a modern reproduction or replica firearm to pass it as an original
– Altering a common model to make it appear to be a rare model
– Adding modern engraving to an older gun, and passing it as original period engraving
– Creating false historical documentation or attribution of historical usage.
– Altering a firearm to a more valuable configuration – for example, rare barrel length, uncommon finish, special grips, or fancy stock, rare caliber.
– “Upgrading” a low grade gun to resemble a higher grade by the same maker.
As we mentioned before, even Rock Island Auction Company is not immune to these types of guns, and the obvious recourse is to make it right. We have done so on numerous occasions, most notably on an episode of our T.V. show “Ready, Aim, Sold!” when we found we were dealing with a fake Winchester 1 of 1,000.
You may wonder why we wrote this article. It is the need to distance ourselves from several potentially spurious firearms previously in our possession and sold by RIAC and currently being offered for sale at James D. Julia Auction. In their auction is a collection with many firearms with claims of provenance to the Battle of Little Bighorn, Gen. George Custer, and several Native American warriors. However, the claims of provenance appear downright false and we know because we have previously sold some of the firearms in question.
We would like it to be known that Rock Island Auction Company never sold any of the guns in this collection with any of their current provenance claims and did not sell them to the current consignor of James Julia. Two of the firearms in question were sold by RIAC, to a dealer, within the last 14 months. A third, a single action revolver with alleged ties to Cheyenne chief Two Moons, was previously turned down by RIAC from this same Julia consignor when its lack of documentation was discovered. However it was sold in a previous James Julia sale for an enormous amount of money.
A fourth firearm was sold by Little John’s auction house during their May 2011 sale. It is also being listed again with questionable claims.
Now, since we have discovered these questionable guns, James D. Julia has pulled them from their website catalog. We do not know what their plans are with these guns, but we are hoping it is a transparent act in the spirit of honesty to help return some peace of mind to the collecting community. Further we wonder what recourse the buyers of the same consignor items in the Julia sale in March have? However, as it currently stands, we are not optimistic for a positive outcome for the people for the following reasons.
The first reason lies in the listing for a facsimile Colt Walker sold by them in their sale held in the spring of 2014. In the items description, after touting what an excellent fake the gun is, the following sentence appears in the item’s official description: “Fool your enemies, sell them this great fake.”
Those are words you will never find at Rock Island Auction Company. As discussed earlier, to sell guns openly disclosed as fakes or replicas is one matter, but to encourage deception of another firearms collector is something that no collector or investor should abide. This sort of sentiment, in combination with the wild claims of provenance, should cause grave concern to any buyer who purchased some of the $240,000 of items sold by this collector in the James D. Julia March 2014 auction.
We began this article by stating that every auction house will, from time to time, receive fake guns. Julia’s is no exception and we await to see how they not only handle the items currently removed from their website, but also the $240,000 worth of items sold this past March. Let it be known that, yes, we sold some of these guns previously, we as in RIAC yet we have no ties to this obvious deception now on going in the next James Julia sale.
You may also like - “Buntline Special” Colt Army Revolver Sells for $546k Another Nazi Gun at Rock Island Auctions The Company K Colt 4th Cavalry Single Action Army That's Not an Assault Rifle! THIS is an Assault Rifle. Rock Island Auctions: Stocks, Bonds or Barrels?
About Robert Farago Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns. View all posts by Robert Farago 32 Responses to Rock Island Auctions Distances Itself from James D. Julia’s “Fake” Guns
Kevin says: October 2, 2014 at 15:23 “…then they could ever achieve by being less than completely truthful.”
Not sure who made the mistake… the original author or in the reprinting but the word “than” should have been used instead of “then”. Reply Tmmy! says: October 2, 2014 at 15:56 That is one of the little grammar mistakes which really torques my lugnuts! Their/they’re/there being another. It is all I can do to NOT point them out every time. Reply Stinkeye says: October 2, 2014 at 17:56 Me, too! Participating in internet message boards is a constant exercise in overlooking poor grammar and spelling, but “then/than”, for some reason, just kills me. I’ll take a thousand “your/you’re” mix-ups over one “then/than”. Reply Matt in FL says: October 2, 2014 at 22:00 Error appears in original. Reply bontai Joe says: October 2, 2014 at 15:30 Kinda makes me just a little glad I’m not rich enough to even be interested in buying such stuff. Reply Soccerchainsaw says: October 2, 2014 at 16:38 Of course I’d rather be rich enough to be able to buy such stuff but simply choose not to do so. I actually prefer old stuff that is common enough and capable enough to actually use without worrying about degrading its value. Like my little friend the Mosin Nagant…. Reply Jeff says: October 2, 2014 at 22:51 +1! Reply Lance Loock says: October 2, 2014 at 15:42 Well Mr. Farago, while I have no dog in this fight, I must say that I am astonished and disappointed that you would post this obviously SPECIOUS HIT PIECE written by Rock Island Auctions to defame their competitor.
“Truth” indeed. Reply Howdy says: October 2, 2014 at 16:04 Lance, please cite a credible source to back up your claim. Is there a cease and desist or other legal action pending in either direction? Reply Lance Loock says: October 2, 2014 at 17:33 Why? Why should I have to submit “credible sources” to question the credibility of a hit piece that cites no “credible sources.”
Seriously. It’s self evident why Mr. Kolander couldn’t be bothered to find out what his competitor’s response is. Frankly, the manner and character of Mr. Kolander’s reaction to his competitor’s successes and failures is entirely Mr. Kolander’s business. He can cast aspersions if he wants–directly or through innuendo–if he thinks it will improve his business.
But The Truth About Guns–Mr. Farago–really ought to make the effort to discover the truth of Mr. Kolander’s self serving implied accusations before posting them unabridged, uncontested, and unvalidated… unless I presume too much upon the “truth” to be expected from “The Truth About Guns.” Reply sacorey says: October 2, 2014 at 17:30 Yup totally a “hit piece” with no credibility or cited source /sarc. I dont know who nicholas black elk is but apparently whoever he left his letters to is a total douche canoe, i mean ill take your family history provenance if its something your grandaddy picked up at normandy, provided he was there and its been in family hands ever since. But this seller bought these guns as recently as a year ago and claims to have provenance? Did this great indian write a bunch of stuff in his diary from the second half of the diary like “dear diary, today whiteman come for land, shot him with whore pocket pistol snxxx, picked up colt sn093.” Or is this bullshit? Reply Brian says: October 2, 2014 at 15:59 I kinda agree. Have you contacted those mentioned in the piece for a response? Reply Robert Farago says: October 2, 2014 at 16:05 We’ve contacted James D. Julia for a response. Reply Brian says: October 2, 2014 at 19:51 I’m not trying to call you out or anything, I’d just hate for TTAG to get used. Reply AndrewPVD says: October 3, 2014 at 09:17 Seeing as this is a multi-paragraph sales pitch for the Mighty Fine and Ethical Business Practices of RIAC, does this fine piece of journalism fall under the guise of “sponsored content”? Reply Paul B says: October 2, 2014 at 16:10 I dunno, but RAIC is the one throwing the rocks, as it where. I do not see a duty for TTAG to research the James Julia claim. Now I do see a duty for James Julia to publish what they did with the particular group of firearms referenced as they would be priceless if provenance could be proved. And should James Julia refute the RAIC charge then TTAG should publish that.
I am not a lawyer so that that opinion as such. Reply Former Water Walker says: October 2, 2014 at 16:27 Ahem…I have been an an antique and fine art dealer for 20 years. The number of items of any genre is limited. In the auction market the competition is FIERCE for the best consignments. I don’t know the truth of the allegations but yeah getting Julias side is very important. I also know Julia has sold many millions of $ art and antiques and not just guns-unlike Rock Island. I’ve had rival auction houses( in Chicago) impugn the integrity of a competitor even though I KNOW the same people would bid on the painting I would consign. As I said take any auctioneers word with a grain of salt. BTW fakes and counterfeits are a huge problem for any collecting field. Caveat Emptor… Reply James Miller says: October 2, 2014 at 16:35 What is their fascination with the Battle of Little Bighorn? Reply Tommycat says: October 2, 2014 at 17:14 Old enough to be worth something. Difficult to substantiate the claim. Famous enough to be known by most. New enough to have the pieces in working order. Reply Stinkeye says: October 2, 2014 at 18:03 Don’t forget it was a relatively small engagement, so almost by definition any artifacts would be quite rare. Even if every single firearm from the battle survived to this day, that would still only be, what a thousand, maybe two thousand guns? Reply AndrewPVD says: October 3, 2014 at 09:20 “Day 12, In the Middle of the Battle of little Bighorn:
I can only hope that this Colt Mode 1861, Serial #001 will surely be found by a lonely prospector some day and passed down through his family, only to be sold off at auction by a sniveling little niece or nephew who doesn’t know any better. Gasp! Indians! I must finish my letter of sure provenance and go fight at the Battle of Little Bighorn.” Reply Schütze says: October 2, 2014 at 16:49 Didn’t RIA just sell a “Nazi” belt-buckle pistol that’s most likely fake? I also remember them selling a “Hitler Guard ‘Night Pistol'” 08 with flashlight attachment that looked rather dubious… Reply brentondadams says: October 2, 2014 at 20:28 Yes they did. But if I recall they made no claim about it provenance. Ian from forgotten weapons handled it at the RIA and he thought it was possibly fake as well. He made a video about it from the show with the owners blessing. I also read a follow up article he wrote on his site where he decided that it was most likely a phony.
Reply barnbwt says: October 2, 2014 at 17:19 talk about your rich people problems (j/k ;)) Reply brentondadams says: October 2, 2014 at 17:37 I have in my possession a toilet seat that General Custard sat on the night before the battle of little bighorn.
Its even autographed. I got it in a whorehouse fire sale.
Up for grabs here, 10,000 dollars.
You guys get first pick. Reply Custer says: October 2, 2014 at 18:56 Hilarious….apparently according to Julia’s auction just write me up a letter and it is fact! Reply Lance Loock says: October 2, 2014 at 19:28 ∆ …and there you have it, Mr. Farago; the predictable consequence of your failure to exercise any due dilligence–your lack of journalistic integrity.
Congratulations! Your modern mainstream media credentials are intact! Reply Montana Dan says: October 3, 2014 at 01:01 Let’s be perfectly clear on a couple of key points here Lance.
1. Re-blogging a story does not mean you endorse it. It is news as re-blogged from RIA, not a “hit piece” written by TTAG. If you are unable to differentiate between authors and content perspective then you have issues.
2. TTAG only offers you their version of the truth. TTAG has many authors and as Robert himself has stated many times the “Truth” is always viewed through a colored lens. The “Truth” is this article was written and TTAG thought it was worthy of being posted and interpreted by individual readers. TTAG makes no claim that any of the content is truthful, lies, or pixie dust.
3. This is the internet. If you need me to elaborate any further than this, then I can’t help you.
P.S. I would rather you not post anymore. I can’t make you stop, but please do the polite and respectful thing and just go away. Reply JoshinNC says: October 3, 2014 at 04:14 +1 Lance Loock says: October 3, 2014 at 04:46 Dan,
1) I am aware of the distinction, and I made that abundantly clear… even though you couldn’t be bothered to note it.
2) I made it clear that I was disappointed that the bar for the “truth” apparently had been set so egregiously low to accomdate Mr. Kolander’s attack upon his competitor.
3) If you don’ t bother to read what I post, you’ll hardly notice I’m even here… you should be congradulated on your excellent start! gun-collector says: October 3, 2014 at 07:16 “those in glass houses…”
I think RIAC just opened up a can of worms here. Authenticating firearms is difficult — sometimes fakers go to great lengths to pass off a firearm as something it is not. ALL of the big auction houses have made mistakes one time or another. RIAC just opened up the same scrutiny of items they have sold in the past.
I *know* of many items that RIAC has misrepresented in the past, including several “singer” 1911s. In addition their warranty is actually less comprehensive than Julia’s. RIAC will only warranty the “headline” which is often very generic. For example “WW2 Colt M1911A1″. But the “headline” doesn’t include things like refinished, or wrong parts, etc. I am also familiar with cases where guns were returned due to issues and the exact same gun re-listed in RIAC’s next auction with the exact same description (trying to get someone else to buy the fake).
anyways the main point is RIAC is not better or worse than any other auction house. caveat emptor. Reply A-Rod says: October 3, 2014 at 08:23 Anyone else have flashbacks to the Philip K Dick book ‘The Man in the High Castle’? Fakes passed off as legit. Reply Leave a Reply
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