Steve McQueen rifle fetches 19,000 euros at French auction

PARIS - French film star Alain Delon auctioned off scores of antique weapons Monday, including a Winchester rifle from the 1950s US TV series "Wanted: Dead or Alive" presented to him by Steve McQueen.

The Winchester Model 1894 wielded with devastating speed by gunslinger Josh Randall played by McQueen in the Western series fetched 19,000 euros (over S$29,632), far surpassing the 3,000 euros it was expected to go for.

Delon's Colt Frontier 1873 pistol, which he wielded in the 1971 Western "Red Sun" starring Charles Bronson, found a buyer at 8,600 euros, about six times the estimate.

The sale included 80 lots of weapons and souvenirs collected over the years by the veteran actor, who shot to international fame playing a hitman in "Le Samourai".

Delon said recently that he had been "collecting everything all my life".

"It turns out that, at my age... I have accumulated a mountain of stuff. Rather than leave these weapons to my children, I'd rather leave them money," Delon said in a recent interview in Le Figaro magazine.

"I can assure you you'll never see a 'Alain Delon posthumous sale'," said the 79-year-old.

Arnaud Cornette, who runs the auction house that sold off the collection, said: "These are not cops and robbers weapons but a journey into a passion of Alain Delon."

Delon "built up his weapons collection with the same rigour, the same passion, the same high standards as he did with his other collections of paintings, sculptures, drawings, watches or wine," said Cornette.

"Certain lots are genuine works of art and will be coveted by collectors the world over," he added.