American Naval Officer's Sword Leads Bonhams' Arms Auction In June

San Francisco - Bonhams' auction of Antique Arms & Armor and Modern Sporting Guns was 86 percent sold on June 8 in San Francisco. Highlights from various collections within the sale achieved above estimate prices.

Bonhams was proud to offer Property from the Estate of John M. Kauffmann of Yarmouth, Maine. Mr. Kauffmann was one of the leading conservation pioneers in the United States, whose 20 year tenure with the National Park Service resulted in land protection and preservation in Alaska, Maryland, Massachusetts and Ohio. Proceeds from his collection will benefit a series of non-profit environmental conservation charities. Of special note from his collection was the sale's top lot, an important silver-hilted American naval officer's eagle pommel sword which sold for $32,760, past an estimate of $10,000-15,000. It is the only signed example by the famous Rhode Island silversmith Nehemiah Dodge.

The sale results also demonstrate the continuing strength of Middle Eastern items. Examples include a fine and rare Safadavid shamshir with gold inlaid mounts that sold above its estimate, bringing $11,700, as well as 43 lots of property from the Collection of Richard R. Wagner Jr. One hundred percent of the lots from that collection sold, with many above their estimates. A particular stand-out lot was a massive silver-mounted and gem-set dagger, pesh-qabz, that sold for $29,250, ahead of an estimate of $2,000-4,000.

Property from the Estate of Joseph A. Murphy brought strong results in the auction as well. Confederate Army highlights, such as a staff and field officer's sword by L. Haiman of Columbus, Ga., achieved $30,420; a percussion revolver by Leech & Rigdon of Greensboro, Ga., sold for $25,740; and a naval officer's sword retailed by Courtney & Tennant realized $19,890.

Additional highlights of note from various owners included a French Napoleanic light cavalry officer's sword attributed to a Captain of Voltigeurs that brought $11,700, past a $1,500-2,500 estimate; a German hand-and-a-half sword by Melchior Diefstetter that brought $16,380; and a rare U.S. Model 1840 Engineer's sword that took in $14,625.

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Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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