(NV) Arms collection on the block


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Drizzt
September 13, 2007, 12:10 AM
Arms collection on the block
By CHARLENE DEAN


Nye County Public Auction will open bidding on the third phase of the Darnell firearms collection at 800 Margaret St., 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16.

When local resident Jerry Darnell passed away late last year, and his estate came into probate, only one heir, an unnamed nephew living in Florida, inherited his distant uncle's spectacular firearms collection.

Using "collection" as a definition for the over 5,000 guns, 1,000-plus bayonets and 300,000-plus unfired rounds of ammunition; some dating back to 1938, seems an understatement. It amounts to a museum's worth of material.

Darnell started the collection by adding to the extensive one he inherited from his father, and the storage facility is of warehouse proportions, lined with row after row and rack after rack of every firearm imaginable and making it the largest personal firearm collection in the state of Nevada.

Jonathan Morris, part owner of Nye County Public Auction, was astounded when he discovered the size of the inventory and excited to know it was going to be auctioned.

Thinking the profit margin should be large just from sheer volume, he lowered the usual auctioneer commission rate considerably and presented an offer to the nephew. After the agreement to sell the collection was signed, Morris discovered the true meaning of overhead in a sale of this magnitude.

"It's really costing us to do this," he said. "We've had to call in experts from other areas to properly identify some of the pieces every time we hold an auction. Plus, we've enlisted Acme Gun to handle the shipping and background checks. We also have Proxibid, and they literally fly someone out here every time we have one of these sales to sit beside Ski (the auctioneer) with a laptop and take live bids from all over the country".

Proxibid is an live online, simulcast auction service used to procure bids nationwide, even worldwide, in real time.

The auction Web site, nyeauction.com, has a link to Proxibid where Morris has uploaded four pictures for every firearm to be auctioned.

"It's a lot of work," he said. "I spent a full week of 14-hour days taking photos and compiling information for each gun, and uploading the catalog to the (Web) site. We have some rare stuff on there that's drawing a lot of attention."

There are some unique guns up for bid at this two-day sale: Burnside carbines, manufactured from 1857 to 1865 and used during the Civil War; Sharps rifles, a Sharps 4800 black powder in particular, used during the same era; and Arisaka rifles marked with a chrysanthemum and confiscated during the American occupation of Japan are available.

A 12-gauge shotgun, or "riot gun," with Folsom Prison engraved on it is also part of the inventory. "Darnell was born a multimillionaire and lived in Hollywood (Calif.)," Morris stated. "It stands to reason some of the pieces may have come from movie house prop sales as well."

He said 80 percent of the firearms for sale are collectables attractive for the historical value rather than functionality.

Morris has been approached by local museums and others from across the country wanting some of the more rare pieces, but he stated his position as "not having the authority to make that decision."

He said some of the phone calls and emails he's received since the beginning of these sales have amazed him.

"One man from Texas bought several firearms through the Proxibid service at an earlier auction", he recalled. "Because we're running these auctions so tightly documented, we told him the guns couldn't be shipped until he had passed a background check. He told me Texas was a sovereign state and not subject to Federal and state laws and I could just go on and ship them directly to his house." Apparently, because the gentleman wasn't willing to go through the background check, those "purchases" will be carried forward to this sale. Among the firearms won by the Texas bidder were pump-action shotguns and assault-type rifles.

Some of the purchases were made via Proxibid by an Arizona soldier stationed in Iraq. In fact, his military orders changed and he's still in Iraq, which created a problem for his wife, who doesn't want anything to do with guns and wouldn't take shipment on them.

She also can't find any firearms dealer who will take shipment for her and hold the weapons until her husband returns stateside sometime in October, so payment has been made but the purchases are still here.

Morris said when they have a large estate auction, people come out of the woodwork, laying claim to something scheduled for sale. "In this case, we've had several people approach us, saying that Darnell was storing this gun or that bayonet for them," he said, smiling. "Of course, they don't have any proof of ownership, and we've found while documenting these sales that every firearm is legally registered to Jerry Darnell. That's unusual."

Morris shook his head, "We had another sale here, I won't mention any names, but the ex-wife came to the house while we were getting ready and told us we could just make out the check to her." The deceased had remarried and the ex-wife wasn't a beneficiary.

More than 800 pieces will be sold during the Saturday-Sunday sales and the preview days are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 13 and 14.

The ammunition sale is a separate event scheduled for Sept. 22 and the preview date for it is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 21.

Successful bids are to be paid at the auction house, but in order to receive the firearm, winners will have to apply and pay the fee for a background check at Acme Pawn and Gun. After clearance, the items may be picked up at the gun shop on West Street.

http://www.pahrumpvalleytimes.com/2007/Sep-12-Wed-2007/news/16605712.html

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silverlance
September 13, 2007, 12:45 AM
the theme for this collection is "cheap".

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