|DENVER, Pa. – Top-notch guns from premier collections comprise the high-powered lineup slated for Morphy’s Feb. 17-19 Field & Range Firearms Auction. The selection includes both antique and modern rifles, shotguns and handguns; and the types of elusive ammunition and accessories most desired by today’s collectors.
Two witnesses to America’s turbulent Civil War era lead the Antique Handguns category, the first being a Colt 1860 fluted .44 caliber Army percussion revolver with matching serial numbers and a single-line Hartford (Conn.) address on the barrel. The gun has a detachable shoulder stock and comes in a Colt case containing many accessories, such as a bullet mold and powder flask (both Colt-marked) and an Eley-marked 250-count cap tin. The auction estimate is $17,000-$25,000. The second mid-19th-century handgun of note is a cased Colt 1849 pocket percussion revolver manufactured in 1860. It displays classic Gustave Young-style engraving with Germanic scrolls and a punch-dot background. Like the aforementioned Colt, it has matching serial numbers, is marked with a Colt address, and is presented in a fitted case with accessories.
Lot 2232 is an early 20th-century handgun of historical importance, as it is the last of Colt’s .45-caliber Bisley Sheriff’s Model single-action revolvers. Its story is documented in The Book of Colt Firearms by R.L. Wilson. As the author recounts, the gun was originally shipped as a .38-.40 caliber with a 4¾-inch barrel. However, it returned to the factory in the mid-1920s and was rebuilt as a .45-caliber Sheriff’s Model with a 3-inch barrel as a special-commission job for early firearms collector J.C. Harvey. “The gun is in stunning condition, functions like new, and has a near-mint to mint bore. It’s one of the great rarities of Colt collecting,” said Dan Morphy, president of Morphy Auctions. The well-documented revolver is expected to sell for $8,000-$10,000.
An impressive array of Brownings is led by a special-order Vrancken-engraved .410-gauge Browning Superposed shotgun manufactured in 1974. Special-ordered with non-standard features including two sets of barrels – one of them 28 inches; the other, 26½ inches – the gun shows very little evidence of having been fired. It comes with its paperwork in a handsome Browning Airways case made expressly for two-barrel sets.
There are many stellar entries among the 192 antique rifles to be auctioned, including a factory special-order engraved Winchester First Model 1873 rifle with extra-length barrel. Bearing Serial No. 6092, its 1875 ship date is documented by Winchester with a Buffalo Bill Historical Center letter dated March 14, 2000. The gun was expertly restored to factory-new condition by Turnbull Restorations in 2004. “This is an unbelievable rare rifle and would easily be the centerpiece of any Winchester collection,” Morphy said.
Morphy’s is renowned for achieving industry-leading prices on rare and collectible automatic weapons of war. Two exceptional pre-1986 dealer’s-sample machine guns will be offered, starting with a highly sought-after Cranston Arms Johnson Automatics Model 1941, a type used by the U.S. Marines during World War II. The .30-06 Springfield-caliber gun, with one magazine, will likely finish in the $25,000-$45,000 range. An Austen (Australian Sten) MK I 9mm Para machine gun, manufactured by W.T. Carmichael & Sons Ltd., also comes equipped with one (Sten) magazine and is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.
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