Auctioneer Press Release Cowan's Auctions

Unrivaled Japanese Arms & Armor Collection Exceeds High Expectations at Cowan's September Auction

Sep 08,2020 | 14:35 EDT By Cowan's Auctions

Top Results led by the Lore and Dave Squier Collection, Heralded as the Finest Collection of its Kind in Three Decades

CINCINNATI – The finest Japanese arms and armor collection to come to the market in three decades lived up to the presale anticipation at Cowan’s September 2 Arms & Armor auction.  The collection sold for a combined $365,294, more than double its presale estimate, and achieved a 100% sell through rate.

“We knew from the moment we laid our eyes on this magnificent collection that this was something special,” said Bill Lewis, Cowan’s Director of Arms & Armor. “The passion the Squier Family had for samurai culture exudes from every piece, whether it be a gilted blade made for a shogun, or the unassuming katana of a samurai. Buyers from around the globe couldn’t wait to get their hands on these remarkable works of art.”

Lore and Dave Squier acquired Japanese arms, armor, and fittings quietly and passionately over more than 50 years. Lore was the chief curator of their cherished collection, and despite countless attempts over the decades to part with even the most modest blade, she ultimately never sold a single piece. The Squier Collection offers the samurai sword aficionado a completely untouched group of more than 100 tanto, wakizash, katana, and tachi as well as dozens of fittings, two genuine somen, several fine kabuto, a good yoroi, and two tanegashima.

Lot 140, A Rare Japanese Samurai Helmet (Kabuto) Sold for $19,200

The top lot of the collection was an extremely rare samurai helmet (Lot 140), known as a kabuto. Shaped in the form of a cat, the kabuto was formed in five pieces of well patinated steel and decorated with peony-type rivets. It sold for $19,200 against a presale estimate of $4,000-6,000.

Other highlights from the collection included three samurai sword kozuka (Lot 74) that sailed past their $600-800 estimate before selling for $15,600; a full suite of Edo period armor (Lot 144) that beat its presale estimate of $6,000-8,000, selling for $14,400; an elegant Koto samurai sword, known as a tachi, in efu-no-tachi mounts (Lot 139) that achieved $13,200 against a $4,000-6,000 estimate; and a matching pair of signed samurai swords (Lot 143), known as daisho, which beat their estimate of $6,000-8,000, selling for $10,800.

The top lot of the auction, however, came in the American arms category as a deluxe factory exhibition engraved English Hartford Colt third model dragoon revolver (Lot 310) sold at its high estimate of $30,000. Although created at Colt’s Hartford, Connecticut factory, the revolver was made to appeal to international buyers - profusely engraved in the finest English style with tight flowing foliate scrolls, flowing feathery leaf motif boarders, and a fan motif at the top of the gripstrap.

Other notable lots from the American arms category included a massive bowie knife (Lot 253) owned by the first governor of Wisconsin, Nelson Dewey, sold for $10,200; a Civil War-era Tiffany presentation sword (Lot 171) given to Col. Charles B. Morton of the 173rd New York Infantry Regiment sold for $9,000; and a Winchester Model 1873 sporting rifle (Lot 330) sold for $7,800.

In the militaria category, a Civil War two-piece North Carolina belt buckle with original leather sword belt (Lot 252) doubled its estimate of $8,000-10,000 selling for $19,200. The buckle was cast in brass with a wreath of laurels on one piece of the buckle and a serif “NC” engraved on the other.

All told, the auction achieved $863,475 against a presale low estimate of $632,100. Bidders participated from around the globe via absentee bid, by phone, or on one of five online live bidding platforms.

By Cowan's Auctions