PRAIRIE DU CHIEN — Excitement was in the air at Kramer’s Auction Gallery in early January as auctioneers prepared for their Winter Firearms Sale. A record number of registered bidders were watching the auction items closely, with 1,500 bidders anxiously following online while a record-setting number of people packed on to the gallery floor. Representatives of the auction company reviewed a large number of absentee bids as well, placed prior to the sale.

“All around, it was very successful,” said Curt Kramer of Kramer Auction Service. “We had some really exceptional firearms that did outstanding for us.”

Registered bidders had their eye on a number of interesting firearms with over 700 up for auction, but one in particular seemed to draw the record-setting crowd: a fully registered, automatic, German MP40 sub-machine gun, developed in Nazi Germany and used extensively during World War II.

While it was a common gun for German infantrymen, only a relatively small number of civilian-transferable MP40s are in circulation. And this firearm was a matching gun from an estate, adding to its very desirable characteristics sought after by collectors for that type of weapon.

“As soon as we put it out there, we were getting some great response,” Kramer said. “We had a lot of calls and inquiries, and I knew it was going to do fantastic.”

Kramer and his colleagues had projected the sub-machine gun to sell in the $20,000 to $25,000 range, which is typical of what they’ve seen similar types of weapons go for in the past, but were blown away when the bid climbed over $30,000.

“It really exceeded our expectations with a hammer price of $35,000,” Kramer said.

He has checked into whether an online bidder’s final price of $40,250 for the MP40 was record setting, and at this point in time, Kramer believes they’ve set the new world record at auction for an MP40 of that type.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said.

Two “great English double-barreled rifles” also did well at auction, bringing in bids of over $10,000 for each piece. A Holland & Holland Royal 360 Nitro Express and “an even scarcer double rifle,” a Greener 310 Cadet, each sold for $11,000 to bidders in-house at the Kramer Auction Gallery. Kramer believes the rare Greener firearm may be the only one known to be produced.

Less than 250 Kimball Arms 30 Caliber Carbine Pistols were ever produced during the mid-1950s, and an online bidder purchased one of them at this auction, with its original box and manual, for a final price of $4,100.

Several Colt revolvers and rifles were also sold at this auction, with particular interest from bidders on a Cattle Brand Engraved Single Action gun that was intricately engraved and signed by master engraver David Wade Harris. This firearm sold for $6,325. Another top selling Colt, a 1967 production nickle finish Python Revolver, sold for $4,945 to an online bidder.

Kramer added that overall, prices were strong on good Colt guns, fetching prices from $2,500 to $5,500 at the Jan. auction.

Kramer Auction Service promotes five national firearms auctions each year, annually selling over 2,500 firearms both online and at their Prairie du Chien auction house. Their next auction will be Saturday, Mar. 23 at 9 a.m. and has been billed as their Spring Sale.

Auctioneers are excited about several items set to be sold at this auction, including a fresh-to-market Parker Brothers 28 gauge DHE double barrel, a “super rare gun that’s been buried away in a family since the early 1960s,” Kramer said. He also eluded to several cased John Dickson target pistols, Tiger pistols and other great firearms that will be available for purchase at the spring sale.

A sale preview is planned for Friday, March 22 from 2 to 7 p.m. at Kramer’s Auction Gallery and a complete, printable catalog for this sale will be available online closer to the date of the sale.

For more information, visit http://www.kramersales.com.