Five centuries of firearms and weapons represented in Morphy’s Sept. 20 Firearms Auction
Sale includes 900+ lots of premium-quality firearms, knives and ammunition
DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s Sunday, September 20 auction features the widest spectrum of firearms the company has offered to date, with a 988-lot selection of guns, edged weapons and ammunition that spans five centuries of production.
There are many rarities in the auction lineup, including early European guns and one of the largest arrays of early American firearms ever brought to market in a single sale. The vast offering of Winchesters, Colts, Sharps and military guns follows a timeline that traces every conflict in which the United States has ever been involved, with an especially fine grouping of Civil War weapons included.
“Our goal with this and all of our Firearms sales is to offer collectors the very best examples of guns that have great design integrity, rarity and historical importance,” said Dave Bushing, Morphy’s Firearms division expert. Each of the antique or vintage items chosen for the September 20 auction has been personally evaluated and cataloged by Bushing, a highly respected authority in his field.
The star of the sale is Lot 75, a Winchester Model 1866 S.R.C. (sight-ready carbine) engraved and signed by John Ulrich, the most prolific of all engravers who worked for Winchester in the latter 19th/early 20th century. The rare and desirable firearm manufactured in 1877 features beautiful scrollwork and the image of a Mexican eagle with a snake in its mouth. It comes to auction together with a handwritten letter from leading Winchester authority George Madis that states the rifle was once in the collection of a former president of the Winchester Collectors Association. Its pre-sale estimate is $35,000-$55,000.
Lot 84 is another superb Winchester production, an English cased, dealer-marked 1895 .405 WCF caliber rifle with a 24-inch barrel. Manufactured in 1921, this gun is of a type that was used by Teddy Roosevelt while on safari in Africa. After Roosevelt wrote about using the model, it became the gun of choice with British and Indian big game hunters. In fact, the example offered by Morphy’s is stamped on the barrel with the address of an arms dealer in Calcutta. Also included in the gun’s felt-lined case are a number of accessories and box of ammunition. Possibly the finest survivor of its type, it is expected to make $9,500-$12,500 at auction.
A third Winchester highlight is the scarce 2-digit, open-top Model 1876 rifle entered as Lot 180. According to factory research, the 45-75 caliber WCF (Winchester center fire) was shipped on Aug. 8, 1877 and therefore is one of the earliest of all such models known to exist today. Introduced at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, the Model 1876 and is commonly referred to as the “Centennial rifle.” In perfect working order, the gun is estimated at $6,500-$9,500.
Many collectors have a fascination for wonderfully decorated pistols made for Europe’s noble or wealthy classes during the 18th century. Their sweet spot in Morphy’s sale is Lot 13 – a cased set of ornately detailed silver wire and gold flintlock pistols from France. Having a 6-inch barrel length, the .52 bore, 11-inch flintlocks are stamped “Verney Lyon.” The guns are presented in their extremely fine original fitted case adorned with oyster shell inlays and a monogrammed silver shield on contrasting wood veneers, and accompanied by numerous original accessories. Auction estimate: $15,000-$20,000.
A pair of Sowers Philadelphia dueling pistols dating to the 1840s/’50s and fitted in an original mahogany Joseph C. Grubb & Co., Philadelphia gun case will be offered as Lot 93 with a $5,000-$8,000 estimate; while a lovely walnut-cased pair of London pocket pistols, crafted along the lines of those made by Henry Deringer, is entered as Lot 95 with a $3,500-$4,500 estimate.
Lot 101 is an undisputed highlight of the sale. It is an experimental pattern model 1794 contract pistol that was made upon the request of Revolutionary War General (and later Secretary of War) Henry Knox. In a letter Knox wrote to Philadelphia Congressional Representative Thomas Fitzsimons on March 4, 1794, the general requested two new arsenals, a new supply of muskets and 1,000 large horsemen’s pistols. Fitzsimons’ authorization led to the creation of patterns for the requested muskets and pistols at the New London Arsenal in Virginia. The gun to be auctioned by Morphy’s is a prototype horsemen’s pistol produced by the arsenal’s team. This rare and unique early American firearm is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.
Also among the top gun entries in the sale is Lot 42, a set of four Colt semi-automatic pistols manufactured between 1914 and 1920, respectively, and with full-coverage engraving by master artist Dale Woody. The set includes a Model 1908 .25 caliber pocket pistol, Model 1903 .32 caliber pocket pistol, Model 1908 .380 caliber pocket pistol and Model 1903 pocket hammer model in a .38 Colt automatic. All are in mint, unfired condition. “It’s the most impressive set of engraved Colt automatics I’ve ever had the pleasure to view. They’re fit for a king,” Bushing stated.
Morphy’s Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015 Auction will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. All forms of bidding will be available, including in person at the gallery, over the phone, absentee or live via the Internet through Morphy Live. Preview Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on auction day from 8-9 a.m.
Morphy Auctions is located at 2000 N. Reading Road in Denver, PA 17517. For additional information on any item in the sale or to reserve a phone line for bidding on auction day, call 717-335-3435 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit Morphy Auctions online to view the entire auction catalog at www.morphyauctions.com