Ruger estate sells for fraction of list price

  • The late William Ruger Jr.'s 110-acre estate in Newport, N.H., will be sold at auction without reserve on Sept. 7, 2019. It was previously on the market for $3.75 million. (Courtesy Platinum Luxury Auctions)

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 10/18/2019 10:09:22 PM
Modified: 10/18/2019 10:09:08 PM

NEWPORT — The North Newport estate of former gunmaker William B. Ruger Jr. sold for just under $613,000 last month, according to property records, far below the $2.5 million list price for the restored home prior to the auction.

One of the owners of RDS Machine on North Main Street had the highest bid. According to the recorded deed in the Sullivan County Register of Deeds, James William Henry Watson and his wife, Ida Louise Walter, were the high bidders with a price of $612,733.

The auction took place in Boston on Sept. 7 with six registered bidders.

The property currently is assessed at $941,000. It includes a main residence of 7,500 square feet; several outbuildings including a barn, caretaker’s residence and workshop; and about 100 acres of land.

Ruger died last year. The property, which along with 500 undeveloped acres, had been on the market for $3.7 million. His family reduced it to $2.5 million for the home, buildings and 100 acres that eventually went to auction.

The deed lists 248 N. Main St. in Newport, as Watson’s mailing address. It is the location of RDS Machine, which supplies machined products to the electro-optic, aerospace and scientific equipment markets, according to its website.

Attempts to reach Watson, who also has a business in Michigan and was not at RDS when a reporter called on Friday, were unsuccessful.

Also on Sept. 7, Ruger’s home in Bar Harbor, Maine, called East of Eden, sold for $4.55 million, far less than the most recent asking price of $12.5 million when it was on the market.

According to the Mount Desert Islander, Portland, Maine, real estate developer Art Girard and his wife Fran were the highest bidders among nine. The 8.95-acre property and buildings are assessed by the town for tax purposes at $5.2 million, the paper said. The 15,000-square foot home was constructed in 1910.

Ruger, son of the co-founder of the Sturm, Ruger Co., a firearms manufacturer in Newport, bought what was known as the Corbin Estate in the late 1980s for $135,000. It was built by Austin Corbin in 1880. Corbin made a fortune in banking and is known as the founder of the Corbin Park, a 25,000-acre game preserve located in several Croydon-area towns.

Ruger, who died in September 2018, spent millions renovating the Newport property at 2 Croydon Brook Road, near Corbin Park and Newport’s airport.

The Realtor handling the sale said the family decided to sell the property at auction, as well as the one in Bar Harbor, for a quick sale as none of the heirs wanted to live there.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at

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