Antique Colts, Class 3 Weapons Brought Out the Bidders at Morphy’s $6.8M Firearms & Militaria Auction

Rarities from esteemed collection of the late Dick Burdick included 1898 Sheriff’s Model Single Action Army Revolver, one of only two of its type known, which sold for $184,500

DENVER, Pa., Dec. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Even in the midst of high market supply, Morphy’s attracted top-tier bidders to their December 6-8, 2023 Firearms & Militaria Auction and achieved a three-day total of nearly $6.8 million. 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 in RL Wilson’s The Colt Engraving Book Volume I. According to this respected reference, Shreve was the grandson of a Revolutionary War veteran, served 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.

Another top prize from the Burdick collection was a rare Colt .45 Sheriff’s Model Single Action Army Revolver with matching serial numbers and factory-carved ivory grips. According to noted author/collector Ron Graham, it is one of only two known factory-engraved guns of its type with a 3½-inch barrel. The accompanying Colt Factory Archive letter confirmed the revolver had initially shipped in 1898 to Simmons Hardware in St Louis, Missouri, in a shipment of one gun. It soared past its pre-sale estimate of $60,000$100,000 to settle at $184,500.

The selection of antique American longarms was topped by a magnificent factory-engraved and silverplated Model 1860 Henry rifle. Produced in 1862 in .44 RF caliber, its barrel was marked with the Henry pattern: OCT 16, 1860 / MANUFACT’D BY NEW HAVEN ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN CT. Morphy’s catalog description noted that the engraving pattern matched one shown in The Book of Winchester Engraving. Aiming high with an estimate of $70,000$100,000, it did not disappoint, rising to $92,250

Leading the Class 3 section was a Colt 1921/28 .45-caliber Navy Thompson machine gun in spectacular original condition with 1928 internal parts and a correctly anchor-marked original buttstock. John Keene, Morphy’s Class 3 firearms specialist, commented that it was the “finest specimen of its type [he had] ever seen.” It reached the upper end of its estimate range at $90,000.

Other highlights included: a spectacular circa-2013 Hartmann & Weiss (Hamburg) 16 bore side-by-side shotgun with nitro proofed 29-inch blued barrels, $74,400; an extremely desirable “US”-marked Saco-Lowell Maremont M-60 machine gun, actually a fully-transferable original M-60D in 7.62mm NATO caliber, $82,800; a classic Will & Finck California-style dirk with a 6-inch blade, $39,360; and a French and Indian War powder horn attributed to “The Master Carver,” $48,000.

To discuss consigning a collection or individual item to a future Firearms & Militaria auction at Morphy’s, call Dan Morphy tollfree at 877-968-8880 or email
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SOURCE Morphy Auctions