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World War II relics rival Revolutionary War and Civil War items at Milestone's May 26 auction
Leather-cased Nazi German Knight’s Cross Certificate awarded to Helmut Naumann, dated June 2, 1941, signed by Adolf Hitler, $9,000.

WILLOUGHBY, OHIO.- On May 26th, Milestone Auctions in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, auctioned an 872-lot selection of outstanding antique and vintage firearms, and military memorabilia. Spanning several centuries, the varied array of historical guns included many rare and unusual examples made by noted gunsmiths, including one produced at the Harper’s Ferry Armory.

“Our team made a concerted effort to put together an auction whose contents were fresh to the market and with price points that allowed everyone to participate. There were many obscure guns for the advanced collector and hundreds of other high-quality firearms that were affordable even to those on a limited budget,” said Milestone Auctions co-owner Miles King.

More than 4,000 people registered to bid in the sale, and there was just as much interest in 20th-century material as there was in the coveted centuries-old guns of the Revolutionary War era, King said. Nazi German lots, in particular, were eagerly pursued by the many World War II collectors who took part.

A Knight’s Cross Certificate awarded to Helmut Naumann, dated June 2, 1941, was hand-lettered and illuminated on genuine parchment. Signed by Adolf Hitler and presented in a formal red leather case embossed with a gold-leaf Reichs Eagle, it finished its bidding run at $9,000. An early World War II German Gewehr G41 sniper rifle reached $5,520; while a pair of Hitler Youth shoes, mint and unused in the original box, realized $1,170.

A pre-World War II personal flag of General Suzuki Soroku, who served as Japan’s Chief of Army from 1926-1930, sold for $3,360 against an estimate of $2,500-$4,500. Another Japanese relic, an Arisaka Type 99 7.7 x 58mm rifle with monopod, changed hands for $1,020.

The U.S. representation spanned wars from the 18th through 20th centuries. A rare Model 1819 J. Hall breech-loading flintlock rifle, a second-production type dated 1826, was made at the Harper’s Ferry Armory. Identified to Captain E.D. French, it sold for $4,560.

Among the many notable Civil War lots was an 1840 Model 1840 saber made by Tiffany & Co. It edged out the competition at $1,920. Also, there was a framed mini archive from the 115th New York Volunteer Infantry that consisted of a flag fragment and note presented to the regiment’s chaplain on Feb. 10, 1865. An excerpt from the note handwritten by Lieutenant Ezra L. Walraith says: “Now Chaplain, when you and I are 100 years old sitting by the fireside coloring our Meerschaums comparing notes how nice it will be to compare the relics of the war…” The lot sold for $1,380.

In every Milestone militaria auction there are pieces that most collectors have never encountered before. One such item in the May 26 sale was a 44-star 6th L.A. Company Boys Brigade American Flag dating to the period 1891-1896. “The Boys Brigade originated in Scotland and was brought to the United States in 1887 by Sir William Smith,” Miles King explained. “Even though the organization was endorsed by President Theodore Roosevelt, the Boys Brigade never met with widespread success in America, so flags of the type we auctioned are extremely rare.” The 92 by 48-inch banner commanded $3,360 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500.

Milestone’s next Firearms & Militaria auction will be held on July 28, 2018.

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