More than 200 firearms, edged weapons, historical documents, uniforms, and military relics from the past 300 years are going up for auction later this month, offering collectors and history lovers from across the country the opportunity to bid on museum-worthy items.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Morphy’s Auctions will host two events on November 17th and 18th called “Early Arms & Militaria from the Age of Exploration, Empire & Revolution,” and “Extraordinary, Sporting & Collector Firearms,” and both feature plenty of firearms that will have serious collectors salivating.
Leading the prestigious lineup is an extremely rare .60-caliber smoothbore silver-mounted officer’s pistol made for private purchase at Rappahannock Forge in Virginia. Signed J. Hunter, it bears the touchmark of rifle-maker John Frederick Klette (1756-1810), who was foreman and master armorer at the forge during the Revolutionary War period. It is one of only two known examples of its type, the other being the property of the Maryland Historical Society. There is speculation amongst firearms scholars that the gun in Morphy’s sale originally belonged to Brigadier General Charles Scott (1739-1813) of the Virginia Line, who later served as governor of Kentucky. The pistol is expected to sell for $250,000-$500,000.
That’s an eye-popping price tag, but Morphy’s expects that many of the items up for bid will go for at least as much as the Rappahannock Forge pistol.
The November 19 Extraordinary, Sporting & Collector Firearms session boasts 462 lots of antique and modern shotguns, rifles, handguns, machine guns, cannons, accessories and more.
At the forefront of this superlative array of arms and artillery is a historically important collection featuring a unique cased set of Colt Model 1851 Navy and Model 1855 “Root” Sidehammer revolvers made for Loren Ballou (1828-1880), a trusted friend and longtime employee of Colonel Samuel Colt. Both guns are inscribed “L. BALLOU / LONDON,” and the Model 1855 Sidehammer is the only known antique Colt firearms marked with a person’s name rather than a serial number.
Other unusual design aspects of this collection reinforce the fact that Ballou held a position of great importance within the Colt organization. Extensive accompanying paperwork includes an Engineering Handbook inscribed by Samuel Colt. Estimate: $300,000-$500,000A rare and desirable martially-marked Colt Walker Model 1847 .44-caliber revolver, identified to “B Company No. 49,” is one of only 1,100 made – 1,000 earmarked for military use; 100 for civilian sale. The design for this powerful 4lb 9oz revolver was a collaborative effort between Samuel Colt and Texas Ranger Captain Samuel H. Walker, national hero of the Texas-Mexico Wars.Walker himself fired the gun past 100 yards with little effort, proclaiming “It [would take] a Texan to shoot it.” The auction estimate for this legendary firearm is $75,000-$125,000.
For those of us who don’t have an extra couple hundred thousand dollars to spend on a piece of history, you can at least look at the collections online before they’re auctioned off. The Early Arms & Militaria items can be found here, and you can wander virtually through the Extraordinary, Sporting, and Collector Firearms auction items right here.