A moskeag Auction Co. estimated that an 1875-dated Gatling Gun would fetch between $60,000 and $80,000 at their May 19, 2007, auction in Manchester, N.H. When the smoke from the bidding cleared, the hammer fell at $207,000.
Serial #132, a .45-70 caliber, ten-barrelled “Gatling” machine gun was delivered to the U.S. Army on October 13, 1875 (let’s remember that the Custer massacre was in June 1876). Numerous US inspectors markings are found on the gun: bolts, carrier block, each individual barrel, rear sight housing and the breech bolt guide plate all show the “c” inspector marking of the principle US sub-Inspector at Colt: AP Casey. The barrels are numbered one through ten with their original markings, and also with later larger numbers identically one through ten. The top cover is marked “45C”, the right flange of the breech housing is marked “model 1875” and “3230”; the assembly number “30” is found on the frames front bar near the headspace adjustment nut cover, each barrel, front barrel retaining plate, the rear barrel retaining plate, and the underside of the breech housing. The breech bolt access port plug is numbered “40”, as is the top cover on its underside. The bolts themselves are also assembly numbered “30” and “40”; the bolts numbered 30 show “c” inspector markings, the bolts numbered 40 show “a” inspector markings (Ainsworth). A few parts are additionally marked with a rudimentary “x”, likely for ease of reassembly, and the word “oil” has been period punch dot engraved at the top oiler hole. The left trunnion is marked “WT 209”.
The front sight on this gun is a simple brass blade. rear sight is marked to 1000 yards. The yoke is unmarked, as is the tiller, though both appear to be later 1901 style. The oscillating mechanism and its worm gear are original equipment, however the linkage is a modern expedient, now connecting to the tiller with a simple bar and threaded brass nut, the crank handle catch is a well-made modern replacement as well.(a few of the recessed retaining screws in this area are now hex-head, the original slot head likely lost over the years).
Amoskeag admitted that the tripod appears to be a modern, quality assemblage, perhaps made by the Ellis props and graphics house. Mechanically the gun seems to operate flawlessly.
The gun was purchased in 2000 when the Ellis props and graphics house closed its doors. The gun was used in the iconic film The Outlaw Josey Wales (starring Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Chief Dan George, Bill McKinney, and John Vernon). Complete documentation from the prop house was included as well as the original auction catalog. An original movie poster was also included with actual signatures of Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Bill McKinney, John Vernon and Len Lesser (certificate of authenticity for the poster is included as well). SOLD FOR $207,000.
Amoskeag Auction Company is a specialty sporting and military collectibles auction house that takes pride in providing unparalleled service to buyers and sellers alike. Visit them online at www.Amoskeag-Auction.com