DENVER, Pa. – Two days of unprecedented buying opportunities await bidders at Morphy Auctions’ Nov. 15-16 Extraordinary Firearms & Militaria Auction. A breathtaking 800-lot selection of rare military and civilian arms follows a timeline that runs from the early 18th century through contemporary times. Several lots are historically significant, with ties to Civil War legends and even “The King” himself, Elvis Presley.
Perhaps no other collectible firearms category has been as intensely sought after in the past decade as legally transferable machine guns. Their sale is federally controlled, and Morphy’s team of firearms experts makes sure all paperwork and documentation are in place before such such guns are offered at auction. Per BATF regulations, Morphy’s also ensures that the bureau has approved the winner bidder before any controlled firearm is transferred to them.
Collectors can look forward to seeing some extraordinary rarities in the November sale. The star of the show is a fully transferable, high-condition Fabrique National US M240B machine gun, an example of the model that the United States armed forces chose to replace the M60 machine gun in December 1995. M240Bs are extremely scarce in the NFA Registry, which notes the existence of 17 pre-1986 dealer samples and possibly up to 11 fully transferable examples. Displaying near-mint, original unfired condition, this specimen would be “hard to improve upon,” said Dan Morphy, president of Morphy Auctions. “It comes from the personal collection of a very discerning and advanced machine gun collector who wishes to remain anonymous as he draws down his collection.” The gun has all of the obligatory markings, including the model number and 7.62mm caliber on the left side of receiver. This will be an unprecedented public offering of a state-of-the-art modern US military machine gun, and a selling price in the range of $250,000-$500,000 is anticipated.
Also for the advanced collector, Morphy’s offers twin Colt M2 water-cooled machine guns on a Mark 22 naval ship mount with a Heintz armored shield and array of accessories. The consignor states that until these two Colts were retrieved from long-time storage, only 21 other transferable, registered original M2 water-cooled .50s were known to be in private ownership in the United States. A number of water-cooled .50 caliber guns exist which are composed of parts from air-cooled ground, or basic aircraft guns, however original water-cooled M2s, in their original configuration, are quite scarce. Estimate $200,000-$250,000
Yet another entry for the advanced or forward-thinking investor/collector is a fully transferable Cadillac Gage Co., Stoner 63 modular machine gun. Its caliber/bore is 5.56 x 45mm NATO. This versatile weapon was originally designed in 1963 to serve as a rifle, carbine, light box magazine-fed, belt-fed or vehicle-mounted machine gun. Very few specimens are entered in the NFA US registry, and the supply of those registered for private ownership is fixed. The pre-sale estimate has been set at $100,000-$120,000.
The whole world knows who “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” was, but because of his celebrity, Elvis Presley (1935-1977) had very few close friends outside of his tight and trusted circle of bodyguards and associates known as the “Memphis Mafia.” Among them was Lamar Fike, who received a birthday present from Presley that was one of a kind: a specially commissioned Smith & Wesson 29-2 .44 Magnum revolver. Presley obviously spared no expense, having it embellished in gold and decoratively engraved by Las Vegas gun engraver to the stars Joseph Condon. A showy firearm closely associated with America’s first superstar, it is accompanied by a binder containing extensive documentation, a photo of Presley with Pike, and a letter signed by Condon that identifies the gun by serial number and explains the engraving work he performed. Estimate: $100,000-$150,000
Morphy’s will take bidders back to the 18th century with a stunning pair of Daniel Moore (London, master gunsmith active circa 1758-1800) presentation flintlock pistols with solid silver mounts by John King. Moore’s impressive list of distinctions includes being Furbisher to the Tower of London in 1754. The guns were owned by Edward Lloyd IV, a colonel in the colonial militia and delegate to the Continental Congress who was known by the epithet “The Patriot.” Steeped in history [additional details in the auction catalog description are recommended reading], the pair of pistols is estimated at $30,000-$60,000.
Also estimated at $30,000-$60,000, a pair of high-quality James Haslett (Irish, active Philadelphia and Baltimore circa 1773-1833) silver-mounted flintlock pistols, .50 caliber smoothbore, are marked on the undersides of their barrels with a pair of eagle-head proofs on either side of a NARROW / TWISTED Damascus designation. HASLETT / BALTIMORE appears on the underside of each gun’s patent breech and truing strike. Haslett initially trained with Robert McCormick of McCormick horse pistols fame. His pistols are widely regarded as being not only in the top tier of American pistols but also the pinnacle of European craftsmanship.
To this day, Civil War buffs discuss the pros and cons of radical abolitionist John Brown, who was executed in 1859 after his failed incitement of a slave rebellion at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Was he a heroic martyr or a madman and terrorist? There may never be a definitive answer. Nevertheless, Brown is endlessly fascinating as a historical figure, and collectors of firearms from the Civil War period will surely be competing over one particular gun at Morphy’s. It’s a world-class Sharps Model 1853 single-shot slant-breech carbine taken from John Brown’s arsenal by the Independent Greys at the raid on Harpers Ferry, one of the most significant events leading up to the Civil War. The carbine is beautifully inscribed on the patchbox: Captured by the / Independent Greys/ At the Insurrection at Harpers Ferry / Oct. 18th 1859/ R. Wm. Grahame. Estimate: $30,000-$60,000
Earlier this year, gun aficionados mourned the passing of revered Italian gunmaker Ivano Fabbri (1928-2022). An engineer at heart, having started his career in that role at Fiat, Fabbri later joined Daniele Perazzi in a quest to build competitive shotguns of peerless quality. They succeeded beyond all expectations, producing gems like the pair of circa-1978 Ivo Fabbri sidelock side-by-side 12-gauge shotguns entered in the auction with a $60,000-$90,000 estimate. Custom made (Ivo Fabbri only produces around 30 firearms per year) and adorned with mythological and fantasy scenes by engraver Claudio Tomasoni, the shotguns have been featured twice on the cover of American Shotgunner magazine (April 1981, June 1986). They come in a fine two-gun leather luggage case and will be offered with a $60,000-$90,000 estimate.
Morphy’s Nov. 15-16, 2022 Extraordinary Firearms & Militaria Auction will be held at the company’s Denver, Pennsylvania gallery, starting on both days at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet via Morphy Live. Questions: call 877-968-8880 or email email@example.com. Online: www.morphyauctions.com.
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About Morphy Auctions
Morphy Auctions is a full-service auction company based in Denver, Pa.