Featured: Prized entries from collections of Dick Burdick and Dr. Jim Watson; Colt No. 3 Paterson, engraved/silverplated Model 1860 Henry rifle, Colt 1921A Thompson machine gun
DENVER, Pa. – On December 6-8, Morphy Auctions will conduct a 1,152-lot Firearms & Militaria Auction featuring star-studded entries from long-held, highly respected collections. Among the top highlights are treasured pieces from the collection of the late Richard “Dick” Burdick, who was one of the foremost authorities on Colts. According to his friends in the ColtForum online community, Dick was “a giant in the world of Colt collecting” and one of the premier collectors of Single Action models. He served for years on the Colt Collectors Association’s Board of Directors, both as director and treasurer.
Dick had a passion for engraved and historic cartridge Colts. His rare smoothbore Colt Frontier Six-Shooter Single Action Revolver originally belonged to legendary exhibition shooter John Witner Garrett (1865-1937), whose Colorado Springs sporting goods store was described in 1928 as “the most unique novel and attractive gun and sporting goods room in the West.” Dick, himself, wrote an article in the Summer 2022 edition of The Rampant Colt in which he characterized Garrett as “a man of many accomplishments.”
Indeed, Garrett was not only a trap shooting world-record holder, he also had hunted with the Theodore Roosevelt party in 1901, and competed with Annie Oakley in sharpshooting championships. The Burdick/Garrett gun is one of only 15 Colt Single Action Revolvers manufactured with a smooth barrel in .44 caliber for a .44 smoothbore cartridge. It is offered with extensive documentation, including a Colt factory letter that confirms its configuration and original shipment date of 8/21/1912. The auction estimate is $75,000-$150,000.
Another great prize from the Burdick collection is a factory-carved Colt .45 Sheriff’s Model Single Action Army Revolver with matching numbers and factory-carved ivory grips. According to author/collector Ron Graham, it is one of only two known factory-engraved guns of its type with a 3½-inch barrel. A Colt Factory Archive letter confirms that the gun was shipped in 1898 in a shipment of one gun. It comes to auction with a $60,000-$100,000 estimate.
Dick’s collection shares the auction spotlight with top-tier firearms from the venerable collection of Dr Jim Watson of Scottsdale, Arizona. One of the crown jewels of Dr Watson’s incredible collection is a historic circa 1837-1840 cased Colt No. 3 Paterson belt-model percussion revolver. It is believed to have been presented to William Watson, a New York City attorney who represented Samuel Colt in patent disputes, by a New Jersey politician named Andrew Parsons. This may explain the inscribed plaque affixed to the gun’s original case. It reads: “W Watson / from A P.” An extraordinary specimen, the gun is accompanied by its case and various accoutrements, and represents one of very few such sets in private hands. Estimate: $250,000-$350,000
The auction also boasts one of the finest collections of sporting arms to come to market in quite some time, with highlights that include an extremely rare Bertuzzi Gullwing in a desirable 20-gauge over configuration. This shotgun has demi-bloc nitro proofed 28¾-inch barrels and is adorned with game scenes, hunting dogs and scrollwork engraved by Marico Torcoli and Valerio Peli. With its leather case, it is estimated at $50,000-$80,000.
A very rare 16-gauge side-by-side shotgun built circa 2013 by the German firm Hartmann & Weiss (Hamburg) has nitro proofed 29-inch blued barrels and rose and scroll engraving by master engraver Florian Gullert. In excellent condition, it comes with a lightweight leather toe-under case bearing a black and gold Hartmann & Weiss leather trade label. Estimate: $40,000-$60,000
A 16-gauge side-by-side Best SLE bespoke shotgun, Serial No. 1188, was made by P V Nelson, the distinguished English gunmakers who crafted Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s “Golden Jubilee” gun. In virtually new condition with bright bores and barrels retaining 98% original colors, the auction entry’s tight scrollwork and floral bouquets were engraved by Keith Thomas. Together with its custom brown alligator, oak and leather case with accessories, the gun’s estimate is $30,000-$50,000.
Magnificent in every way, a Model 1860 Henry factory-engraved and silverplated rifle made in 1862 is of a .44 RF caliber and is marked on its barrel with the Henry pattern: OCT 16, 1860 / MANUFACT’D BY NEW HAVEN ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN CT. Its engraving pattern matches one shown in The Book of Winchester Engraving, where it is noted that “Engraved Henry rifles are among the most sought-after antique firearms in the world. The quality of hand embellishment used during the mid-19th century in America literally transformed an ordinary firearm into a work of art.” The pre-sale estimate is $70,000-$100,000.
Last but certainly not least, Morphy’s will respond yet again to the red-hot NFA market with a fantastic selection of machine guns, including a finished Maremont M-60 with its original shipping box and mint accessories, $90,000-$120,000; and a spectacular all-original, high-condition Colt 1921A Thompson 1921 machine gun with the three-digit serial number 152. It is one of five guns that were shipped by Auto-Ordnance Corp (NYC) on April 26, 1921 to British arms expert Captain H B C Pollard. As intelligence officer on the staff of the Chief of Police in Ireland, Pollard was headquartered at Dublin Castle at a time when guns of this type were part of the arsenal kept on hand for possible use in quelling the Irish independence rebellion. Estimate: $60,000-$100,000
There is so much more to please the antique and vintage arms collector in Morphy’s December 6-8, 2023 Firearms & Militaria Auction, which will be held at the company’s Denver, Pennsylvania gallery, starting each day at 9 am ET. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live. Questions: call 877-968-8880 or email email@example.com. Online: www.morphyauctions.com.
All images courtesy of Morphy Auctions
Spectacular all-original, high-condition Colt 1921A Thompson machine gun, low serial number (152) associated with British arms expert Captain H B C Pollard, London, who was the intelligence officer on the staff of the Chief of Police in Ireland, headquartered at Dublin Castle. Shipped to England on 4/26/1921 by Auto-Ordnance Corp., New York. Guns of this type are likely to have been kept on the ready or actually used in quelling the Irish independence rebellion. Estimate: $60,000-$100,000
Historic cased Colt No. 3 Paterson belt-model percussion revolver, circa 1837-1840, believed to have been presented to William Watson, a NYC attorney known to have represented Samuel Colt in patent disputes. An extraordinary specimen with its extremely scare, original presentation case and accoutrements, it is one of very few sets in private hands. Provenance: Personal collection of Dr. Jim Watson, Scottsdale, Arizona. Estimate: $250,000-$350,000
Factory-carved Colt .45 Sheriff’s Model Single Action Army Revolver with factory-carved ivory grips. According to author/collector Ron Graham, it is one of only two known factory-engraved guns of its type with a 3½in barrel. Colt Factory Archive letter confirms gun was shipped in 1898 in a shipment of one gun. Matching serial numbers. Provenance: Richard ‘Dick’ Burdick collection. Estimate: $60,000-$100,000
Rare and historic smoothbore Colt Frontier Six-Shooter Single Action Revolver that belonged to exhibition shooter John Garrett. One of only 15 Colt Single Action Revolvers manufactured with smooth barrel in .44 caliber for .44 smoothbore cartridge. Extensive documentation including Colt factory letter confirming configuration and shipment date of 8/21/1912. Provenance: Richard ‘Dick’ Burdick collection. Estimate: $75,000-$150,000
Magnificent Model 1860 Henry factory-engraved and silverplated rifle, 1862, .44 RF caliber, barrel marked with Henry pattern ‘OCT 16, 1860 / MANUFACT’D BY NEW HAVEN ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN CT.’ Engraving pattern matches with one shown in ‘The Book of Winchester Engraving.’ Estimate: $70,000-$100,000
Outstanding circa-2001 Bertuzzi Gullwing 20 gauge over/under shotgun with demi-bloc nitro proofed 28¾in barrels. Engraving of game scenes, hunting dogs and scrollwork by Marico Torcoli and Valerio Peli. Comes with leather case. Estimate: $50,000-$80,000
Exquisite P.V. Nelson (London) 16-gauge Best SLE bespoke side-by-side shotgun, Serial No. 1188. Tight scrollwork and floral bouquets engraved by Keith Thomas. Custom brown alligator, oak and leather case with accessories. Virtually new condition, with bright bores and barrels retaining 98% original colors. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000
Spectacular circa-2013 Hartmann & Weiss (Hamburg) 16 bore side-by-side shotgun with nitro proofed 29in blued barrels. Rose and scroll engraving by master engraver Florian Gullert. Excellent condition with lightweight leather toe-under case with black and gold Hartmann & Weiss leather trade label. Estimate: $40,000-$60,000