Continuing our series of articles about the most expensive firearms sold in the major US auctions, today we’ll take a look at the five most expensive lots sold in the Morphy Firearms, Militaria, & Sporting Auction that was held from October 30 to November 02, 2018.
As in the case of our previous installments, the list of firearms goes in the price ascendancy order with the least expensive being the number five and shown first and the most expensive being the number one and shown at the end of the article. The firearm names also link to corresponding Morphy Auctions pages where you can read more detailed descriptions and see more and higher resolution images of the guns. In case if several firearms are sold at the same price, you’ll see them combined in a single position. OK, without further ado, let’s see what we have this time.
#5 – $73,800
As mentioned above, the lots that were sold at the same price are combined in the same position in our list. And that is the case with the $73,800 price point. Two firearms were sold at this price.
This is a dream gun – a new (unfired) fully transferrable M60E3 machine gun. This lot was consigned with the original packaging of the gun, two sealed plastic bags containing 2,000 links, a spare barrel, USMC technical manual and a variety of tools. According to Morphy Auctions, this particular gun is one of the very few that is available on the civilian market.
The M60 series of machine guns are belt-fed gas-operated weapons chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. The E3 iteration of “The Pig” (nickname of this machine gun) is the upgraded and lightened version that was deployed in the ’80s. The major visual differences of the M60E3 from the earlier versions are the forward grip, the handguard shape as well as the style and attachment point of the bipod.
The .31 caliber Colt Model 1949 Pocket Revolver is the predecessor of the famous .36 caliber Model 1951 Navy. This particular pocket revolver is in a great overall condition, features a nice polished blue and color case hardened finish on different parts, beautiful engravings on the metal parts and a one-piece ivory grip.
As you can see, quite an interesting part of this lot is the case that the revolver is consigned with. The case has an appearance of a book and features gold embossed embellishments and gold foil covered edges. The interior of the case is lined with blue velvet with recessed compartments for the revolver itself and its accessories. According to Morphy Auctions description, this is the only known book casing of its style.
#4 – $78,000
Just like the previous price position, this one also includes two lots.
This Henry rifle is chambered in .44 Henry Rimfire and has a 24-1/4″ octagonal barrel. The receiver and side plates are made of iron. This rifle is the serial number 104. Morphy Auction house points out that less than 400 of iron frame Henry rifles were ever made. Besides being a rare version of the Henry rifle, this particular sample is also in good condition.
This pair of Charles Lancaster O/U double rifles is chambered in .375 Holland & Holland Flanged Magnum which is basically the rimmed version of the .375 H&H Magnum cartridge. These rifles have H&H style scope bases and were consigned with two Schmidt & Bender scopes. The rifles also feature beautiful British “rose and scroll” type engravings.
#3 – $108,000
If you follow our series of firearm auction articles, then I am sure you have already seen that the price of a certain firearm can be multiple times higher depending on to whom it belonged to. In this case, this Colt SAA revolver (S/N 133674) once belonged to the legendary Old West lawman Wyatt Earp.
According to Morphy Auctions, Bat Masterson, one of Wyatt Earp’s deputies when he was the Sheriff of Dodge City, ordered several .45 caliber Colt SAA revolvers with 4-3/4″ barrels and rubber grips (exactly like this one). Allegedly, that’s how Wyatt Earp became the owner of one of these revolvers. Moreover, on the inside surface of both grips the name “WYATT EARP” is scratched as seen in the image embedded below. This revolver belonged to the Earp family for a very long time and its life after leaving the family is well documented, too.
#2 – $132,000
This is another firearm that is highly sought after by collectors because it belonged to Chief Rain-in-the-Face, a warchief of the Lakota tribe, who took part in the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. He earned this name “after several fights where the blood and war paint looked like rain on his face“. Some sources say that Chief Rain-in-the-Face could be the man who killed General George Custer and his brother Thomas Custer. If you want to learn more about his life, read the description of this lot on Morphy Auctions website.
This Winchester Model 1873 (S/N 487) is chambered in .44-40 Winchester. This firearm was also accompanied with two photographs of the Chief Rain-in-the-Face and photographer David Frances Barry. In both pictures, you can see this rifle which is identified by the rectangular metal plate at the butt, C -shaped mark from the ground bolt on the oval wrist repair, set trigger lever, mars on the wood and the reversed rear sight.
#1 – $159,900
Our list started with an M60 machine gun and it ends with its grandfather – the Fallschirmjägergewehr 42 (FG 42). Yes, FG 42 was one of the firearms that inspired the designers to develop the US M60 machine gun. This particular one is a late, second pattern model which is preserved well and represents a fully functional transferrable machine gun. The rarity, condition and historical significance are the factors that make the collectors pay $160K for this machine.
This iconic WW2 weapon was consigned with a ZF4 scope and one 20 round magazine. Morphy Auctions description says that less than 7,500 FG 42s were ever made from which only a small amount was brought to the US and an even smaller amount became a transferable machine gun.
So, our top 5 list actually includes seven lots and eight firearms with a total value of $703,500. I hope you enjoyed this article and if you did, stay tuned for more articles telling about the interesting items and most expensive lots sold at major American auction houses.
Images courtesy of Morphy Auctions, www.morphyauctions.com