‘Bo Whoop’, ‘Hairtrigger” Meldrum and Boutet lead Julia auction

Two day auction grosses $8.5 M

The James D. Julia Auction Company, Fairfield, Maine, reported gaining strength in the firearms market based on results of their annual spring auction March 15-16.

As always, the spring event was held in conjunction with the Poulin Auction Company, only 50 yards away. The Poulin Auction Company specializes in the handling of mid-market firearms and military items, while the Julia Auction Company specializes in high-end firearms and militaria. The two separate auction companies work in collaboration to draw sellers and bidders from across the world.

Julia noted in a company press release that “the positive results of both auctions in these uncertain times are a strong indicator that things are getting a little better in the firearms world.”

The Most Famous Fox Shotgun in the World, the AH Fox XE/HE
Special known as Bo Whoop built for world renown sportsmen
and author Nash Buckingham. Est. $100,000-200,000, sold
for $201,250

The most intriguing story of the Julia auction was about a gun named ‘Bo Whoop’, probably the most famous of all American shotguns primarily because of its former owner Nash Buckingham.

Buckingham is considered by many to be the finest and most famous sporting writer in history. “Bo Whoop” is a special gun whose barrels were bored by the renowned barrel maker Burt Becker. The shooting capabilities during its time were extraordinary.

Buckingham revered his gun and expressed those sentiments in a great many of his writings, thus introducing the gun to millions of sporting enthusiasts.

The gun’s nickname was originated by Nash’s friend, based on the sound it made each time it was fired as “Bo Whoop”.

In the 1940s, Nash placed the gun on the fender of his car and then drove home with friends from a hunting trip. The gun, of course was lost off the car and never recovered.

For generations, “Bo Whoop” was considered to be lost so the revelation of its discovery a few months prior to Julia’s auction and subsequent advertising generated a tremendous stir in the shotgun and sporting fraternity. Blogs lit up and innumerable articles were published. At the Las Vegas firearms show, Julia’s placed the gun on display and a veritable “stream” of admirers made the pilgrimage to the Julia booth to look at, handle and photograph the revered gun.

The grandfather of the consignor bought the gun about 50 years ago (10 years after Nash’s loss) from an individual for $50. The broken gun was set aside and forgotten for many years until the next generation inherited it. A couple of years ago, the grandson discovered the gun in his father’s closet. They then decided to have the stock repaired and took it to a local gunsmith. Later the gunsmith called back and asked the family if they knew the history on this famous shotgun, and then proceeded to enlighten them about “Bo Whoop”.

The family later decided to have a replica stock put on rather than the repaired stock and after completion, “Bo Whoop” was returned to the father’s closet where it stayed for another year and a half. Recently, because of illness, the son made the decision to sell the gun and contacted Julia’s. The rest is history.

“But it’s not just simply a story of an historic gun selling for a big price,” the Julia press release noted. “Since its discovery was announced, the sentiment, reverence and enthusiasm associated with the gun is as significant as the Julia Company has experienced about anything they have sold in the past.”

The final conclusion to this story could never be more fitting. The buyer was Nash’s godson and the son of Nash’s dearest and best friend Al Howard. Howard was the most mentioned character in Nash’s writing (also a renowned sportswriter). On Monday afternoon of the auction, he was the high bidder at $201,250.

His motivation for buying had nothing to do with collecting, Julia noted, but was motivated by his memory of the tremendous bond and friendship between his dad and Nash Buckingham. Of significance is the fact that the buyer purchased the gun for the specific purpose of placing it on loan to the National DU headquarters where it will be displayed to the public as a testament to, and in honor of, the close friendship Nash and his father had enjoyed most of their lives


Extraordinary Rare Cased French Set of Exquisite Gold and
Silver Embellished Nicholas Noel Boutet Flintlock Pistols.
From the collection of the late H.H. Thomas of Kentucky.
They carried a presale estimate of $250,000-500,000 and sold
for $437,000.

The financial leader of the auction was an extraordinary pair of gold and silver inlaid flintlock pistols, made by Nicholas-Noel Boutet. Boutet’s shop, located at Versailles, was probably one of the finest, if not the finest gunsmith ever in history. The pistols were from the very select collection of the late H.H. Thomas of Kentucky and carried a presale estimate of $250,000 – $500,000 and finally sold for $437,000.


Fine and Important, Rare Garniture of Flintlock Pistols by
Nicholas Noel Boutet, also from the H.H. Thomas Collection
carried a presale estimate of $70,000-100,000 and sold for
$132,250.

Another pair of high-art Boutet cased pistols realized just under $100,000 and a final garniture consisting of four quality guns, albeit not as lavishly ornamented as the previous guns, brought a final price of $132,250.

Also from the same extraordinary collection was a magnificent pair of engraved and gold inlaid percussion pistols mounted in ivory. The set realized $69,000.

Other early arms in the sale included an outstanding collection of early martial flint and percussion pistols from the collection of Charles Radcliffe of New York City. The high seller was a rare North & Cheney 1790 contract flintlock pistol which realized $40,250.

A rare 1797 McCormick U.S. Navel Flint pistol, acquired from the James Wertenberger collection and originally in the Robert Howard Collection and estimated at $12,000 – $15,000 finally sold for $20,125.

An 1811 S. North pinned contract pistol acquired from the Joseph Murphy Collection and originally in the Meade-Patterson collection, sold for $22,425.

And a pair of Halbach & Son flint pistols formerly in the Charles Dupont Collection and estimated at $8,000 – $10,000, sold for just under $15,000.

The auction started Monday morning with an outstanding selection of rare Class III weapons, many of which were from the estate of the late Allen Brown. A Browning Automatic M1918A2, estimated at $10,000 – $15,000, sold for $19,550.

The high seller for Class III was an M-60 machine gun by Maremont estimated at $25,000 – $35,000 which went out at $36,250.

Rare Springfield rifles from the Robert Rosenthal collection, many of which were featured in Brophy’s book, included a fine 1904 Ramrod Bayonet estimated at $30,000 – $40,000 which sold for just under $34,000.

An ultra-rare Winchester-Springfield Army Type 2 Sniper Rifle, estimated at $18,000 – $25,000 realized $25,300.

A rare BSW double rifle drilling, at one time presented to the notorious Nazi Field Marshall Hermann Goering, carried a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 – $50,000. It saw spirited bidding that resulted in a final bid price of $58,000.

The afternoon session on Monday included another extraordinary array of high-end shotguns and sporting rifles in addition to the Buckingham previously mentioned. In general the sporting rifles did extremely well. A choice L.C. Smith Specialty Grade 410, estimated at $30,000 – $40,000, sold for $37,400.

The original prototype for the desirable Winchester Model 42 pump sold for $69.000.

A stunning Rizzini R-1E, engraved with gold by M. Terzi brought $89,125, while a stunning Boss 20 bore over-under estimated at $65,000 – $95,000 brought $92,000.

An exquisite pair of David McKay Brown round action 20 ga shotguns was estimated for $55,000 – $75,000. After heated bidding competition, the set realized $77,625.

The high seller for Sporting Rifles was the E & G Higham 4 bore hammer single barrel ball & shot gun for “Elephant, Rhinoceros, and Other Pachyderms”, estimated at $13,000 – $18,000 finally sold for $48,875.

The first day concluded with a collection of rare single-shot rifles from the collection of the late David D. Sobel. A one-of-a-kind Remington No. 3 Hepburn Schuetzen, estimated at $9,000 – $12,000 brought $13,250.

An extremely rare Frank Wesson No. 1 long-range single shot, estimated at $6,000 – $10,000 realized $23,000.

Day 2 included a select grouping of fine Winchesters including numerous Henry’s and rare ‘66’s. A scarce Henry marked Model 1866 Winchester, estimated at $30,000 – $40,000, realized $40,250.

There was an extraordinary offering of Colts and the highlight of the Colts was a fabulously engraved and gold inlaid single action inscribed “From The Tomboy Gold Mine Co. Lt’d / Telluride Colo to Rob’t. D. Meldrum". Meldrum spent much of his life as a deputy sheriff but also worked for the Pinkertons as a guard and also as a covert Pinkerton operator while in the employ of the Tomboy Gold Mine Co. He also worked for the Colorado Cattleman’s Association and like his good friend Tom Horn, was essentially a hired gun. He was a small man of only 140 pounds but hard as nails and with a mean streak. He is purported to have killed over 14 men in his lifetime, most in the line of duty (two were unarmed). Around the turn of the century, the Tomboy Mining Company was having a great problem with organizers who were attempting to get the miners to go on strike. It’s not known what Meldrum did for the Tomboy Mining Company, but one thing is for sure, they were exceedingly grateful. Because of the cost, only 16 Colt revolvers were ever produced with gold inlay and the one auctioned was certainly payment for valuable service. A considerable amount of interest was expressed in the piece, and it finally sold for $258,750.

A beautiful cased Nimschke engraved Colt Single Action Army realized $69,000.

An extraordinarily rare rosewood cased engraved pair of Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolvers with beautifully carved patriotic ivory grips carried a pre-sale estimate of $50,000 – $60,000. As a result of competitive bidding, it went out at just under $75,000.

Extraordinarily Rare, Near Pristine, Cased "Charter Oak" Colt
1855 Root Model 7 Percussion Revolver. One of the newest
Antique guns to come on the market in quite some time. This
spectacular set estimated at $115,000-135,000 sold for $126,500

An extraordinarily rare near pristine “Charter Oak” Colt 1855 Root Model 7 was offered. Although this gun was rare, what was truly spectacular about it was its condition. This gun probably came as close as you could ever find to what a brand new Colt directly out of the factory would have looked like. Its condition propelled the final selling price up to $126,000.

A beautifully engraved Colt Model 1862 Police in outstanding condition was estimated at $30,000 – $40,000 and sold for $46,000.

A number of fine Civil War and Confederate items were included in the sale. One was an outstanding Confederate battle flag captured during the Gettysburg campaign. It had descended through a famous Maine family. The final sale price was $120,750.

During the Civil War the U.S. Sanitary Commission was formed to help in the development of hospitals and care for wounded veterans. This sale included an extraordinary San Francisco silver presentation service to the president of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, Henry W. Bellows. Presented in 1863, it consisted of over 30 pounds of silver with the tray alone weighing in excess of 10 pounds and having 4 exquisite vignettes of famous California scenes. The service was at one time in the collection of the National Red Cross and was offered with a $20,000 – $35,000 estimate, which it defeated, selling at $46,000.

Once again, a number of items were offered from the famous Confederate collection of Fred Edmunds. An extremely rare Confederate Baby LeMat percussion revolver, in outstanding condition was estimated at $75,000 – $125,000 and finally sold for $103,500.

Overall, the sale was a great success, with considerable in-house activity as well as a great number of absentee bidders. The little more than $7 million of goods offered, realized $8.5 million.

More details can be found at www.jamesdjulia.com.

Julia’s fall auction will include the estate of the late David Crocker from Easley, South Carolina. Crocker’s collection included Winchesters and outstanding Colts.

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