New collectors called the shots on many Colt and Winchester rarities
DENVER, PA.– Providing a selection of firearms with price points that are attractive to novice and intermediate collectors paid off for Morphy’s as a wave of new buyers emerged to bid in the company’s February 5-7 Field & Range Firearms Auction. In addition to cataloging the premium-grade rifles, small arms and accessories entered in the 1,815-lot sale, Morphy’s specialists had made a special effort to also include many contemporary and collectible guns with estimates as modest as $300-$500.
“Every vintage gun enthusiast wants the satisfaction of adding something new to their collection, but not everyone can immediately afford to buy at a connoisseur’s level. We made sure that everyone could take part in the sale and bid on quality items. There were a lot of satisfied buyers across the board,” said Dan Morphy, president of Morphy Auctions.
At the upper end of prices realized, the top lot of the sale was neither a rifle nor a small firearm; it was a Winchester picture box containing .45-caliber center-fire metallic cartridges for Colt’s 1873 single-action Army Revolver. Against an estimate of $1,500-$2,000, this fantastic relic of the Old West garnered 24 bids before settling at $9,500. All prices quoted are inclusive of buyer’s premium.
A near-new Colt Model 1911 Commercial .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol was issued in 1917 and displayed 99.9% original pre-WWI finish. An astonishingly clean and authentic survivor, it even retained its original box, hangtag, cleaning brush, brochure and instructions. It sold for $7,800, well above its presale estimate.
Another Colt that drew spirited bidding was a pre-WWII Fitz Special Detective double-action revolver. According to a Colt factory letter, the scarce and beautifully designed snub-nose pocket gun was shipped on October 25, 1937 to Bob Nichols, editor of Field & Stream magazine. Appearing never to have been fired, the collectible .38 Special more than doubled its high estimate to reach $6,600
Smith & Wesson fans recognized the extreme rarity of a boxed, round-butt Model 19 factory-nickel, double-action .357 Magnum revolver that was shipped in 1973 to a Monrovia, California address. The shipment was one of eight guns “marked” for the California Justice Department, which in actuality meant the gun itself was not marked. Estimated at $2,500-$3,500, the firearm was bid to $6,000.
An early Springfield Armory M1903 National Match rifle shipped in 1930 exhibited all of the desirable bells and whistles that make this particular model such a prize, e.g., a polished rail, etched matching serial numbers a nickel steel stamped bolt, star-gauged barrel, Type C walnut stock with double-bolt reinforcement, etc. The .30-06 rifle estimated at $3,000-$4,000 rose to $6,600. A rare, high-condition US Springfield Model 1882 Caffee-Reece bolt-action rifle also met with success, selling for $6,400 against an estimate of $3,000-$4,000.
Following closely behind was a Winchester Model 1901 lever-action riot shotgun of a type once used on stagecoaches and in prisons. “It is nearly impossible to find a legitimate 10-gauge 1901 shotgun made in the riot configuration,” noted Tony Wilcox, Morphy Auctions’ Colt and Winchester expert. “This particular gun was in a beautiful collector grade and appeared to be completely correct, which no doubt helped it achieve its selling price of $6,000.” The pre-sale estimate was $2,000-$3,000.
Morphy’s will conduct its much-anticipated Premier Firearms Auction on April 24-25. Highlights from that sale are available to view online now at www.morphyauctions.com. To discuss consigning to one of Morphy’s future firearms auctions, call Dan Morphy at 877-968-8880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.