Vintage Colt firearms blasted through their top estimates at Morphy

Colt .45 Single Action Army revolver, $104,550 with buyer's premium at Morphy Auctions.

DENVER, Penn. – Morphy Auctions attracted top-tier bidders to the Firearms & Militaria sale held on December 6, December 7 and December 8, which totaled nearly $6.8 million. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

According to Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions, there was intense competition for fresh-to-market engraved antique and first-generation Colts as well as any other scarce or unusual pieces in especially nice condition.

A prime example of a gun that had it all was a beautiful and historically important Colt .45 Single Action Army revolver from one of the sale’s featured collections, that of the late Richard ‘Dick’ Burdick. With steerhead pearl grips, and geometric and floral factory engraving applied on Aug. 3, 1891, after Cuno Helfricht, it was initially sent as a shipment of one to George W. Shreve. The gun appears on page 421 of Wilson’s The Colt Engraving Book Volume I. According to this respected reference, Shreve was the grandson of a Revolutionary War veteran, was in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and was present at Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Shreve also worked for several firearms companies before opening a store in San Francisco, which was destroyed in 1906. With extensive paperwork, including Colt Factory letters, this stunning firearm sold for $104,550 against an estimate of $40,000-$60,000.

Dan Morphy noted that high-end European sporting arms had no shortage of bidders, either. The tempting lineup included a spectacular circa-2013 Hartmann & Weiss (Hamburg) 16 bore side-by-side shotgun with nitro proofed 29in blued barrels. Embellished with attractive rose and scroll engraving by master engraver Florian Gullert, it presented in excellent condition and came with a lightweight leather toe-under case with a black and gold Hartmann & Weiss leather trade label. It easily surpassed its high estimate, selling for $74,400.

An outstanding, fresh-to-market 16th-century bronze cannon came to auction with noble European lineage, having once been the property of Friedrich of Prague, Baron of Windhag. A fascinating example of European artillery, it was boldly emblazoned GOTTES GNADE IST GROS (translation: God’s grace is great) over a coat of arms depicting monkeys on a chain, in reference to an important nobleman named Ladislaus Prager. Entered with a presale estimate of $5,000-$10,000, it unleashed its auction firepower and ultimately sold for $36,900.

A nicely patinated French and Indian War powder horn attributed to ‘The Master Carver’ displayed highly detailed scenes of Presque Isle, Lake Erie, Fort Detroit, Quebec, and the ‘Fall of Niagara,’ as well as images of Native Americans holding war clubs and scalps. It sold for $48,000 against an estimate of $15,000-$30,000.

Winchester and Colt firearms from Paul Friedrich collection are sure shots at Morphy Oct. 25

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DENVER, Penn. — To hear his friends tell it, Paul Friedrich (1943-2022) was a true one-of-a-kind collector. Captivated by TV cowboys of the 1950s and stories of the California Gold Rush and Old West, Paul grew into a consummate collector of firearms and historical relics that will come to Morphy Auctions on Wednesday, October 25. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The Friedrich collection includes antique and vintage firearms; Gold Rush and Old West artifacts; and gold jewelry, coins and nuggets. Additionally, the collection features 19th- and early 20th-century antique advertising, gambling items, and many other fascinating curios.

“Paul was everything a collector of historical American objects aspires to be,” said Morphy Auctions President Dan Morphy. “As a buyer, he had uncanny intuition, and he never forgot a single detail about any of the items in his collection. He was one of a kind.”

The sale’s top lot is a Winchester ‘1 of 1000’ 1876 lever-action rifle from the first year of production and marked with the serial number 724. It comes with full provenance and is estimated at $300,000-$500,000.

Friedrich’s fabulous assortment of Colts is led by a factory-engraved .45-caliber Colt Sheriff’s model single action revolver that was shipped in 1892 as a shipment of one to Dunlay & Geisler in Houston, Texas. In excellent condition with the barrel retaining nearly all of its original bluing, it is accompanied by a Colt factory letter, photos and additional literature, and is estimated at $100,000-$150,000.

An exceedingly rare prewar Colt .38 Super Match comes with pearl grips and an adjustable sight, making it literally one of a very few made before the outbreak of World War II. With full documentation on its history, beginning with being shipped in 1935 to Abercrombie & Fitch in New York, the piece is estimated at $75,000-$150,000.
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‘1 of 1000’ Winchester 1st Model 1876 Deluxe, serial number 724, estimated at $300,000-$500,000 at Morphy Auctions.
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Sheriff’s model Colt single action Army, estimated at $100,000-$150,000 at Morphy Auctions.
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Colt Super Match .38 semiautomatic pistol, estimated at $75,000-$150,000 at Morphy Auctions.
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Colt Model 1894 double-action revolver, estimated at $75,000-$125,000 at Morphy Auctions.
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Gold nugget weighing 131 grams (4.6 ounces), estimated at $4,000-$8,000 at Morphy Auctions.
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