Sitting Bull’s flintlock musket tops $162K

Sitting Bull’s Hudson’s Bay flintlock musket sold for $162,500 on June 9 in Dallas. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – A flintlock musket that once belonged to Sitting Bull and Sioux arrows from the Battle of Little Bighorn led Heritage Auctions’ George Armstrong Custer and the Plains Indian Wars Featuring the Glenwood J. Swanson Collection Legends of the West Auction on June 9. The total from the event was $1.6 million, which exceeded preauction expectations by more than 30 percent.
Originally made as a model 1863 full-length smooth-bore flintlock trade musket, Sitting Bull’s identified Hudson’s Bay flintlock musket, which includes Sitting Bull’s name scratched in the stock, sparked a spirited bidding war, racing far beyond its estimate of $50,000+ before realizing $162,500.

Three Sioux arrows from the Battle of the Little Bighorn enjoyed similarly eager bidding, breezing past their estimate of $10,000+ to finish at $93,750.

“Our collectors understand the historical significance and importance of the Battle of Little Bighorn and those who fought there,” Heritage Auctions Americana Auctions director Tom Slater said. “That was particularly reflected in the way people pursued Sitting Bull’s carbine and the Sioux arrows. Those are extremely significant, important historical artifacts, which is why the bidders went after them so eagerly.”

Among the lots that proved appealing to multiple bidders was William Tecumseh Sherman’s dress uniform as General of the Army, which sold for $62,500. Sherman was Custer’s commander at the time of the Battle of Little Bighorn.