Two of the Piotti side-by-sides from a set of five that will be offered in the July auction in Jackson, Wyoming. The set features stunning walnut from a single tree. (Courtesy BLIXT & CO.)
[I]n mid-July Blixt & Co., the pioneering sporting agency offering driven shoots and other opportunities from its base in Idaho’s Teton Valley, will team up with Britain’s Holt’s Auctioneers to hold a first-ever sale in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The auction will test the waters for both companies, with an offering of up to 200 lots of sporting guns and accessories as it combines a sale and a social occasion in one of the West’s great destinations.
Blixt & Co., founded in 2008 by Lars and Jennifer Magnusson, has a long association with Holt’s and has served as the auctioneer’s US agent for Americans wishing to buy or sell guns in England. But selling Americans’ guns in the broader market of a British auction has offered great challenges, not the least of which is the law that all guns sold in the UK bear current British proof marks. In addition, according to Lars, the costs of importing guns to the US purchased at a Holt’s sale in England are increasing, and the logistics are becoming more difficult.
“The obvious answer is: So we go out there,” said Holt’s Christopher Beaumont. In late May or early June Beaumont will come to the US to inspect and research the guns consigned for the sale and to prepare the auction catalog, which will be available only online. Magnusson said the goal is to have the catalog online by June 1.
The classic sport shop JD High Country Outfitters, on the village square in Jackson Hole, will be the gathering point for the guns prior to the sale, and there will be provisions to view the gathering lots there before the official viewing date of July 15. The auction will take place July 16 starting at 2 pm in the base lodge at the Snow King Resort, in Jackson, with food and drinks available at 12:30.
Part of the impetus for the sale is to bring together sporting enthusiasts from Blixt’s client base and the surrounding area for a social gathering with a purpose. “We’ve been talking about it with clients for nine months,” Magnusson said, “since the beginning of last shooting season. We’ve spoken with a number of clients who respect and value the Holt’s approach to auctions.”
“It’s partly aimed at a bunch of people who you know will be coming—a social event,” Beaumont said. “They’ll have a bit of fun and goad each other along . . . . We’ll be able to relax and enjoy ourselves.” Either Beaumont or Holt’s founder Nicholas Holt will handle the live-auction duties.
Magnusson said that of the 200-lot maximum set as the limit for the sale, about half have been gathered. Notable early highlights include Purdeys, Woodwards and Perazzis as well as a set of five Piotti side-by-sides—a .410, a 28, a 20 and two 12-gauges—with wood from a single tree.
For more information, see the events calendar at the Blixt & Co. website (www.blixtco.com) or the online catalog at the Holt’s website. —Ed Carroll