Morphy Auctions sells musket that fired first shot at Bunker Hill for $492K

Morphy Auctions

Historically significant, fully documented Dutch .79 smoothbore Type III flintlock musket and bayonet of Private John Simpson, who fired the first shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775. Accompanied by Simpson’s New Hampshire commission to second lieutenant, plus several copies of a 50-page book scrupulously detailing the history of the musket, Simpson family, Battle of Bunker Hill, and Simpson’s court martial. Unbroken line of family provenance since 1775. Sold on Oct. 23, 2019 for $492,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $100,000-$300,000. Morphy Auctions image

DENVER, Pa. –Morphy Auctions has sold the Dutch flintlock musket that fired the first shot at the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill for $492,000. Arguably the most significant, positively identified Revolutionary War long arm in existence, the .79-caliber gun was originally the property of Private John Simpson (1748-1825) of Deerfield, New Hampshire, and had remained in his family by direct descent for the past 244 years.

As history recounts, Simpson fired an unauthorized first shot as the Redcoats advanced on Breed’s Hill (erroneously reported as Bunker Hill) against the order of Colonel William Prescott, who instructed colonial troops, “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes!”

Morphy Auctions

Morphy Auctions image

“The Simpson gun symbolizes one of the most important battles leading to American independence and came to auction with impeccable family provenance and supportive documentation,” said Morphy Auctions’ founder and president, Dan Morphy. “Bidders knew there was no question about this famous gun’s background and authenticity.”

The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, has arranged for the musket to go on public display at the National Museum of Military Vehicles in Dubois, Wyoming, which will open in May 2020


A full report on Morphy Auctions’ Oct. 22-23 Extraordinary Firearms sale will appear soon on Auction Central News.

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