QUINCY -- Will Sullivan has no idea what three rare service revolvers for the Quincy Police Department will fetch at auction Saturday, but he knows that the winning bid will be noted by antique gun collectors.
Sullivan will auction off three 1877 Colt "Quincy Police Dept." Type 5 revolvers as part of Will Sullivan Auction Co.'s Spring Firearms and Militaria Auction and Sportsman Show starting 9 a.m. Saturday at the Oakley-Lindsay Center.
"There is no insurance value on these because these are the first ones in the past 30 years, as far as I can dig back, that they have ever sold a Quincy version Type 5 at public auction," Sullivan said. "They are just kind of recently coming into light on how special they are."
The Quincy Police Department ordered 24 of the custom-made guns from the Colt factory. The revolvers differ from a standard Type 5 as they have a loading gate, which allowed for a faster reload. Colt did not offer loading gates on other Type 5 revolvers.
Sullivan said it was rare for a city the size of Quincy to seek a modification on a service revolver.
They were shipped out on April 11, 1877, to Langeman and Bros. in Quincy to distribute to the department.
Sullivan said only five are known to exist, with the other two in private collections.
"These were specifically made for police departments," Sullivan said. "The original Type 5s were pretty basic. On any other Type 5 known in the world, you would simply just take the cylinder off of it and load your bullets in it and then put it back in, but the Quincy Police Department specially ordered loading gates on these, which would have been kind of a big deal."
This will be the first time Sullivan establishes the market value on an item at auction.
"Whatever they bring -- whether its $1,000 or $100,000 -- we just don't know because we have nothing to compare it to," he said.
A standard Type 5 is worth about $1,200 depending on the condition.
The three guns are being sold by a private collector.
Sullivan said there is a chance someone will make an effort to buy all three revolvers as gun collectors try and collect each gun of a rare model.
"In the past 30 years, people are just now starting to figure out how rare they are and how cool they are, so there's obviously copies already being made of them," he said. "But we do know that these are 100 percent legit. These are verified."