DENVER, Pa. – In preparing for Morphy’s big July 13-15 sale, the Pennsylvania company’s firearms specialists have once again come through with flying colors, curating a first-class selection of firearms, edged weapons, armor and militaria from fine American and international collections. More than 1,500 lots will be presented over the three-day period, with in-person bidding at Morphy’s spacious 45,000-square-ft gallery and all other forms of remote bidding in place, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live.
The comprehensive list of collector categories in this sale is designed to offer something special for every bidder. There are both antique and modern rifles, shotguns and handguns; Civil War, European and Japanese swords; Native American relics, and 150 lots of militaria. The latter classification encompasses field gear and equipment, ammunition, uniforms and other military apparel; edged weapons, and more.
An exceptional Joseph Cooper Kentucky-style percussion rifle is one of the stars of the opening session. Lavishly decorated, the rifle was recently discovered with consignor provenance that states it once belonged to a Dr. Emmanuel Meyer (b. 1818, Basel, Switzerland). Research conducted by Morphy’s indicates that Dr. Meyer was part of a German prince’s excursion to the United States in the 1840s and that he served as a major in the US Army in 1845. He was subsequently hired as a surgeon by Prince Carl Solms-Braunfels to assist in the German immigrant community in Texas. “Paperwork states that on one occasion Meyer removed an Indian arrow from the jaw of a wounded Texas Ranger,” said Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions. “Dr. Meyer brought his prized rifle back with him when he returned to Switzerland in 1847, and it has remained in successive generations of the family until now.” The auction estimate is $30,000-$50,000.
Several unusual pistols stand out in the sale, including an antique Charles Lancaster (London) 4-barrel .455 CF “Howdah” model. This reliable type of gun would have been used as a “last-ditch” weapon against charging game, e.g., tigers leaping from trees onto a howdah (canopied seat for riding on the back of an elephant). Estimate: $6,000-$9,000
And while on the subject of reliable guns, that would be the way to describe a cased gold-plated and engraved German-made Walther PPK/S .380 ACP/9mm Kurz semi-automatic pistol. With an Ulm proof, German nitro proof and 1982 German date code, this attractively decorated firearm comes with a Beretta case and several accessories, including an extra set of grips. Estimate: $7,000-$9,000
A predicted scene-stealer in the opening session is the spectacular silver-mounted parade saddle featuring extensive leather carving and superbly engraved silverwork by Don Ellis (1913-1969). It is marked KARL’S SEATTLE, the name of the firm where Ellis worked. A self-taught silversmith and engraver, Ellis is often described as the “Ed Bohlin of the Pacific Northwest,” although some would argue that Ellis’ work was superior to that of any of his contemporaries. The opulent saddle is expected to reach $12,000-$16,000.
Day 2 of Morphy’s sale is packed with incredible firearms, including several outstanding European productions like a cased Franz Sodia sidelock .375 H&H and .458 Win Mag safari-grade double rifle. Built in Ferlach, Austria, this powerful two-barrel rifle is engraved with African game scenes and comes to auction with a $20,000-$25,000 estimate.
Those seeking a top-class shotgun need look no farther than a circa-1968 Browning (Belgium) Midas-grade superposed over/under model with a 3-barrel (.20, .28, .410 gauge) set. It comes with a Browning factory letter and is estimated at $15,000-$20,000. Another exceptional shotgun is a cased circa-1971 engraved Beretta (Italian) SO5EELL 12-bore 2-barrel. It is expected to sell in the range of $13,000-$16,000.
Collectors will have two opportunities to acquire a 3rd Generation “Storekeeper” Engraving Sampler from Colt’s Custom Shop. Both of the .45-caliber single-action Army revolvers bear Colt 150th Anniversary medallions. Each of the guns has grips scrimshawed with the names of master engravers. The first is accompanied by a 1992 Colt factory letter, signed by Historian Emeritus M.S. Huber, confirming that it is the only one that was built in this configuration. Similarly, the second gun is accompanied by a Colt Archival Letter, signed by Colt Historian Beverly Jean Haynes, stating it is the only one that was built in its particular configuration. It will convey to the new owner with its correct box and additional factory paperwork. The two Colt Storekeepers will be auctioned consecutively, each with a $6,000-$10,000 estimate.
Day 3 features a wealth of swords and sabers; military uniforms and apparel; field gear, handguns, semi-automatic weapons, knives and daggers (including Third Reich); and dozens of boxes of ammunition. Among the highlights are: a rare and desirable German WWII Kriegsmarine binoculars on a World War I US Navy mount, $8,000-$12,000; an 1893 West Point Academy USMA Class of 1893 gold and carnelian ring, $8,000-$12,000; a 1914 Erfurt Artillery Luger, $5,000-$7,000; and a US Marine Corps Pattern 1904 officer’s jacket with mohair-braid trim, estimate $1,000-$2,000. A museum-quality grouping of Imperial medals with a museum-quality Imperial medal bar with corresponding ribbon bar for Baron von Richthofen will be offered with a $6,000-$9,000 estimate.
Morphy’s July 13-15, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria will be held live at Morphy’s gallery in Denver (Lancaster County), Pa., starting each day at 9 a.m. ET. All remote forms of bidding will also be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live. View the auction catalog, with detailed descriptions and multiple images per lot, online at www.morphyauctions.com. Questions: call 877-968-8880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About Morphy Auctions
Morphy Auctions is a full-service auction company based in Denver, Pa.