Spectacular prices were paid for investment-grade Class 3 and sporting arms
DENVER, Pa., May 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Collectors turned out in force for Morphy’s April 11-13 Firearms & Militaria Auction, which surpassed even seasoned experts’ pre-sale expectations as it closed the books at nearly $7 million. Morphy’s president and principal auctioneer Dan Morphy reported an average selling price of $5,600 per lot, a result he attributes to the firearms department’s focus on “quality consignments versus volume” and a lineup of Class 3 and sporting arms that discerning collectors found hard to resist.
Many eyes were on the exceptionally rare Class 3 weapons, which are strictly controlled and seldom appear for sale in the open marketplace. The investment-grade selection was led by an ultra-rare and desirable German WWII Model FG-42 machine gun, Model E 1st Model. One of only about 2,000 examples made, it came from the estate of its original American owner, a 101st Airborne paratrooper who personally retrieved it during the war and shipped it home from Germany. He registered it in 1948. Estimated at $250,000–$350,000, it soared to a final price of $456,000.
Another prized entry was the exceptionally rare original WWII silenced Sten Mark IV (S) machine gun. Manufactured specifically for use by special operations forces during the pre-invasion of Japan, it is one of the rarest of all British-made machine guns registered for private ownership in the US. Its provenance shows that it was originally issued to an American officer who was training in England during WWII. In 1998, it was featured in an article in Small Arms Review. The Sten Mark IV (S) sold well above estimate at Morphy’s, reaching $129,000.
The sporting arms category was flush with impeccably built, beautifully engraved guns. A circa-1988 Armi Fabbri bespoke over/under shotgun with demi-bloc 27in nitro proof blued steel barrels, Italian proof marks, and the serial number “E701” was described in Morphy’s auction catalog as “flawless.” Master engraver Claudio Tomasoni decorated the gun with wonderful game scenes, floral bouquets and tight scrolls. Offered together with its fitted Fabbri leather case, it was bid to a within-estimate price of $84,000.
A .40-caliber percussion Kentucky long rifle made around 1835 by master gunsmith John Armstrong of Emmitsburg, Maryland, took the term “rarity” to a new level, as it is one of only four original Armstrong percussion rifles known to exist. Its features include a superbly carved stock, brass inlaid plate on the barrel signed JOHN ARMSTRONG, and a handmade percussion lock script-signed J A. Boasting impeccable condition, the Golden Age rifle previously resided in the Joseph Kindig collection. It is now the property of a new owner who paid $72,000.
A documented original Colt No. 5 “Texas Model” Paterson Single-Action Percussion Revolver was of a type associated with the Republic of Texas and noted for its use by Texas Rangers and Texas Navy. Numbered “996,” it was one of only 1,000 such firearms produced in total between 1838 and 1840. Its line of provenance could be traced back to 1946, and it came with a 2006 John Sexton appraisal document. It sold for $57,600.
An extraordinary witness to history, a bright red, star-studded license plate that was once affixed to the front of General Douglas MacArthur’s command car rose to $31,200 against an estimate of $10,000–$20,000.
Morphy Auctions is currently accepting quality consignments for its August 15-18, 2023 Firearms & Militaria Auction. To discuss, call Dan Morphy tollfree at 877-968-8880 or email
. Visit Morphy’s online at www.morphyauctions.com.
SOURCE Morphy Auctions