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It's one of the most renowned Colt firearms collection in gun collecting history, and now the Dr. Joseph A. Murphy Collection is headed for the auction block.
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One of a kind, Model 1898 Dutch test/acceptance pre-production
prototype Borchardt- Luger semi-auto pistol #35 (Est. $90,000-$130,000)

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In the annals of gun collecting, never in history has there been a collection offered at public auction to equal, or rival that of the renowned Dr. Joseph A. Murphy Collection of Colt firearms. When considered gun for gun, based on rarity, condition and value, this is the finest offering ever in history.

When Doc Murphy’s passion for Colts first evolved, he wisely sought the advice, consultation and assistance of some of the foremost Colt experts in the world. The resulting collection was subject to extreme vetting and scrutiny for condition, originality and genuineness, garnering an extraordinary pedigree. In recent years it had become more and more difficult for “Doc” to continue to find Colts that upgrade his current holdings.

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Original condition Volcanic pistol
(Est. $35,000-$55,000)

HK21E w/9" quick-change barrel
(Est. $25,000-$35,000)

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Civil War inscribed Henry Rifle, Co. D, 115th
Illinois Vols. (Est. $45,000-$65,000)

As all collectors know, part of the passion of collecting is the opportunity to acquire and expand one’s collection. Dr. Murphy made a decision to re-focus his collecting interests. He is selling his entire collection of antique Colts and will now return to his original love of early U.S. martial single-shot pistols.

The Dr. Murphy Collection has been divided into three sessions: first to be offered in Julia’s March 2009 auction, the second in their October 2009 sale, and the final session offered in March 2010.

During Dr. Murphy’s Colt collecting phase he quickly established himself as a man who was very sincere and serious about acquiring the best, proving that he was willing to pay what the market would bear. Today, in selling his Colts, it is his goal to make an equally strong statement that the guns are, in fact, here to be sold.

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Colt transition Walker dragoon perc. revolver
(Serial No. 1104) (Est. $225,000-$375,000)
(Dr. Murphy Coll.)

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Cased Colt First Model dragoon from Conn. Gov.
to Franklin Pierce (later Pres. Of U.S.)
(Est. $250,000-$450,000) (Dr. Murphy Coll.)

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Colt Thompson M1921 AC .45 ACP w/ case
(Est. $20,000-$27,500)

For those who are familiar with some of the guns in this collection you will probably immediately realize that Julia’s estimates are well below the true value of most of the lots in this collection. The point being, that while this extraordinary lot is being offered at auction, it is not with “pie in the sky” requirements. As the estimates bear out, literally any serious collector or passionate enthusiast of Colt firearms will find the guns (as well as their estimates) to be most enticing. While the total number of items in the Murphy Collection number is just over 100 pieces, the total value for the entire collection is around $26 Million, making the average value per lot approximately $250,000 each!

Included is a cased engraved Patterson belt model with eight silver bands. This is in nearly new condition and carries a presale estimate of $275,000-$500,000.

One of the most famous of all Colt single actions is what’s known as the Sears & Roebuck gold inlaid, engraved and cased SAA. In about new condition, this fabled gun is an extraordinary example of Colt craftsmanship and carries a presale estimate of $450,000-$800,000.

A cased, 1st Model Colt dragoon in outstanding condition carries a tremendous pedigree. At one time presented from the Governor of Connecticut to Franklin Pierce (later President of the United States), this outstanding piece is estimated at $250,000-$450,000.

A deluxe factory-engraved Colt 1860 Army revolver in extraordinary condition with spectacular engraving is inscribed, “Union and Liberty”. According to the auction house that originally acquired the gun, it was acquired from a descendent of Ulysses S. Grant and purportedly was at one time presented to Grant himself. The Union & Liberty 1860 Army revolver with ebony grips stands alone as one of the most sought after engraved firearms manufactured during the Civil War and is offered together with an autographed CDV of Gen. U.S. Grant. It carries a presale estimate of $350,000-$650,000.

One of the most touted lots of this first session is the General Robert Anderson cased Colts. These ’61 Navy’s in brilliant new condition and complete in their original casing were presented to Anderson from the Colt Manufacturing Company. They’ve never been used and are offered together with Anderson’s sword and a great plethora of other information relating to Anderson. Anderson was the famed Commander of Ft. Sumter at the outbreak of the Civil War. Because he was recognized as a heroic patriot by much of the northern United States after his courageous stand at Sumter, Colt decided to present him with a pair of truly extraordinary Colts. These Colts represent some of the finest artistry of the Colt Manufacturing firm at that point in history. Presented in 1863 to Anderson, the entire lot carries a presale estimate of $1,250,000 to $2,250,000.

The Murphy Collection is not the only thing of great importance in this auction. For a number of years the Julia firm has developed a reputation for selling some of the finest high-grade shotguns and sporting rifles to come to auction, and this sale is no exception. A select but extraordinary grouping of Parker shotguns includes a magnificent cased Parker A-1 Special 20 gauge with 32” barrels, SN 207xxx with a presale estimate of $120,000-$150,000.

A Rare Parker AAHE 20 gauge with 28” barrels and factory letter, also from the same collection, carries a presale estimate of $50,000-$70,000.

A stunning Dossa engraved Bertuzzi engraved side lock 16 gauge, two barrel set in spectacular condition carries a presale estimate of $60,000-$90,000 and a fabulous vintage pair of H&H, 12ga game guns, estimated at $30,000-$50,000.

Among the fine sporting rifles offered is a spectacular J. Rigby Rising Bite .450NE. with a presale estimate of $70,000-$100,000 and a magnificent R.G. Owen, Kornbrath engraved bolt rifle estimated at $27,500-$37,500.

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Tombstone, AZ lot including extremely rare marked Samuel L
Hart SAA Colt (Est. $100,000-$150,000)

Historical items are always a part of Julia’s auction and this sale includes a wonderful high-quality Colt single action revolver. The Hart Gun Shop that was owned by Samuel Lombard Hart marketed this particular gun. Mr. Hart had moved to Tombstone just prior to the gunfight at O.K. Corral and began repairing and selling Colts. The gun has his special brand consisting of two hearts with initials “S.L.”. His shop was located just a short distance from the famous Fly Photography studio that was right next door to the O.K. Corral. This gun, together with an extraordinarily rare Tombstone marked holster, and other Tombstone artifacts is estimated at $100,000-$125,000.

A historic engraved Colt 1878 DA W/ pearl grips presented to Capt. Jack Crawford (poet, scout, renowned trick shot, and long time friend of Buffalo Bill) by Colt’s Patent Firearms Mfg. Co. estimated at $175,000-$225,000. A Rare and spectacular cased silver mount presentation Bowie with sheath to Colonel Thomas G. Stevenson of N.E. Grand Reg. made sometime during the Civil War is an extraordinary work of art. The carved ivory handle depicts a Union soldier struggling up the face of a cliff and the knife guard ornamented with eagle’s heads. This famous Bowie knife has been illustrated and featured in various books and carries a presale estimate of $80,000-$120,000.

A virtually new 16-1/2” volcanic carbine and its extraordinarily rare cardboard box is about as rare a volcanic as you could find in this condition. It is estimated at $18,000-$22,000.

Civil War items include a fabulous presentation gold standing Liberty figure hilt presentation sword to G.W. Harrison of the New Jersey Vols. This spectacular work of art is estimated at $25,000-$35,000.

An exceedingly rare and desirable Confederate Arkadelphia musket, one of only two known to exist, carries a presale estimate of $50,000-$85,000.

Also included is an extraordinarily important and recently discovered high grade, signed Tiffany sword presented to Medal of Honor winner Brig. Gen. R. Saxton. It was originally purchased and presented by recently freed slaves in South Carolina in 1864 on the one year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. It will be offered with an estimate of $85,000 to $125,000.

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Part of the Tom Clinton collection of rare presentation,
experimental and prototype M1 carbines

An example of the many fine Winchesters to be included is a fine Civil War period engraved Henry with patriotic motifs carrying a presale estimate of $40,000-$60,000. There are three rare Winchester cartridge boards including an exceedingly rare 1884 WRAC Bullet Board from a private collection carrying a presale estimate of $15,000-$20,000.

There is a fine selection of military items including the Tom Clinton Collection of 20th Century military rifles including numerous prototypes, presentations, and experimental examples. Also included will be a selection of more rare Lugers from the famous Doug Smith Collection including a genuine Dutch test trial Luger .30 cal. pistol. After Luger invented his famous pistol, the Swiss tested the pistol first for their military. Shortly thereafter, the Dutch tested the pistol for their military. This was one of these very first guns produced to be used in these test trials and has serial number 35. Other than two other examples in a private museum, this is the lowest serial numbered Luger known. Considered to be one of the rarest of all Lugers in the world, it is estimated for $90,000-$130,000.

In the last two years Julia’s has established themselves as the leading seller of Class III items in North America and have consistently offered a spectacular array including some very rare examples. This sale consists of over 40 pieces. An amazing one-of-a-kind H.K. 21E with 9” quick-change barrel carries an estimate of $25,000-$35,000. Also included are early Revolutionary War muskets, Kentucky’s, pre-Civil War handguns, and much, much more!

Once again James D. Julia, Inc. is offering extraordinary items of great diversity, outstanding condition, rarity and value. There will be two catalogs available for this sale. Session I contains Monday’s offering of high-grade shotguns, sporting rifles, and 20th Century military, together with Class III. Session II, Tuesday, March 17th includes the Dr. J.A. Murphy Collection of Colts together with other fine Colts from other collections, rare Winchesters, Civil War material, historical guns and much, much more. It will be held at Julia’s auction facilities in Fairfield, Maine Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th with preview on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 13th, 14th & 15th. This sale is held in conjunction with Poulin’s Auction Company’s sale of guns and militaria Saturday, March 14th and Sunday, March 15th (adjacent to Julia’s facility). For more information, please visit their website Free detailed and illustrated brochures for the Julia auction will be available approximately four weeks prior to the sale by contacting Julia’s at 207-453-7125 or via their website at

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