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.