The April 2019 Morphy Extraordinary, Sporting, & Collector Firearms auction has ended and the list of prices realized has been published by the auction house. As always, we examined the list and found the five most expensive firearms sold during this auction. Our list goes in a price ascendancy order. The lot names are linked to the corresponding pages in Morphy auction’s catalog where you can find more images and read more detailed descriptions of the lots. Let’s take a look!
#5 – $67,650
This is a gorgeous Model 1866 Winchester lever action rifle engraved by Conrad F. Ulrich and fitted with high-grade American walnut furniture. However, its grade and condition are not the main features that made the collector pay 68 grand for this gun. The left side of the receiver is engraved with the following inscription: “Presented by W.W. Winchester / To Stephen T. Babcock / for the best three shots at the / Annual Target Match of the / Collegiate & Commercial Institute / New Haven May 6th 1872“. And that’s what makes this gun so valuable because it was presented by William Wirt Winchester, Oliver Winchester’s only son. In general, there are very few Winchester presentation guns ever made.
The competition and award gun story was described in a New Haven Daily Morning Journal & Courier article (May 7, 1872) which you can read in the description of this lot on Morphy’s website.
#4 – $79,950
Andreas Albrecht was a German gunmaker who moved to America in 1749 and settled in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Later, he moved to Christian’s Springs and then settled in Lititz in 1771. He is considered one of the pioneers of the American long rifle (a.k.a. Kentucky or Pennsylvania rifle). There are very few flintlocks known today that can be attributed to Andreas Albrecht, that’s why these guns are highly sought after by collectors.
#3 – $98,400
This Springfield Trapdoor carbine (S/N 19573) is attributed to a gentleman named John Martin, a trumpeter who was accompanying General Custer when the battle of Little Bighorn started. Martin actually survived the battle because right before it started he was dispatched to deliver a message to Captain Benteen.
The carbine was identified by the Custer Battlefield Firearms Identification Project. The identification is done by firing the rifle and comparing the firing pin marks on the primer with those seen on the cases found at the area where the battle took place. There are several theories concerning why a case fired from Martin’s carbine was in the site considering the fact that he left the site before the firefight started. Most likely, Martin gave his carbine to one of his fellow troopers before leaving, retaining only his sidearm.
#2 – $105,000
What can we say about this shotgun? It neither has any historical significance like the previous lots on our list nor it belonged to some prominent historical figure. Nevertheless, it is highly valued because it is one of the finest specimens of its breed. It’s a Boss & Co. side by side 28 gauge shotgun with a high-grade wood, chopper lump barrels, color case hardened sidelock action, moderate and elegant engraving – just a beautiful work of gunmaking art that is also in mint condition.
#1 – $135,300
And the first place is occupied by not one but two lots. Both of them were sold at the same price of $135,300 that’s why they share the first place.
Well, technically this lot consists of two guns. However, these are not just two shotguns of the same model but a matched pair made to be exactly the same in every aspect. You can tell that by the gold inlaid numbers 1 and 2 on the ribs of the guns. Both of these petite beauties are chambered in 410 bore. The two guns also have identical semi-relief engraving motif with hummingbirds, feathers and flowers which according to Morphy Auction’s description is inspired by the art of Martin Johnson Heade.
Featured in our list of top most interesting guns of this Morphy auction, this 37mm Hotchkiss revolving cannon made it into the first place by being sold for way more than was the estimated high price of $50,000.
According to the description of the auction house, this revolving cannon was most-likely captured during the Battle of San Juan Hill of Spanish-American War. It is in excellent condition with the only restored (repainted) part being the carriage. This gun was also consigned with a number of accessories and reloaded 37mm rounds. The last bit of description on Morphy Auction’s website perfectly wraps up the role of this gun by calling it “19th Century version of the modern MK-19 Grenade launcher”
Apparently, the lot that had the highest estimated price in the auction catalog (shotgun attributed to Nikita Khrushchev) was not sold because it can’t be found in the prices realized list. In total, this auction sold firearms worth over $8 Million.
If you enjoyed reading this article, stay tuned to read about the most expensive lots sold at the May 2019 Rock Island Premiere Firearms Auction, too.
Images courtesy of Morphy Auctions, www.morphyauctions.com