May is a month in which America honors its military, both on Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. Morphy’s will answer the call for recognition of those who’ve served our country with an exceptional three-day auction traversing the 18th century through modern era. Day 1, on May 27, is titled “Founders & Patriots Arms, Militaria, Documents, Artwork & Rare Imprints from the Era of the American Revolution & the War of 1812.” Days 2 and 3, May 28-29, are reserved for a collector favorite: Morphy’s top-notch “Extraordinary, Sporting & Collector Firearms” sale.
Lavishly illustrated, expertly detailed auction catalogs may be viewed on Morphy’s website. All forms of remote bidding are available, including absentee, phone, and live online through Morphy Live. Private gallery previews by appointment only.
One of the most historically important American treasures ever to be offered by Morphy Auctions is an extremely fine silver-mounted and inlaid presentation pipe tomahawk made by Richard Butler, a respected armorer at Fort Pitt (Pa.) from 1765-1770. The tomahawk is signed ‘R. Butler’ and inscribed to Lt John McClellan, who served with the Pennsylvania Riflemen and carried the weapon with him during the Revolutionary War. The tomahawk’s extensive line of provenance includes The Tower of London, The Earl of Warwick’s (Warwick Castle) collection, and other distinguished private collections in the US and UK. It has been extensively exhibited, including at the Smithsonian, and comes with a voluminous archive of supportive documentation. Estimate: $300,000–$500,000.
As early firearms go, very few can rival a circa-1760 .65-caliber Moravian flintlock rifle attributed to Andreas Albrecht (German/Pa., 1718-1802) for historical value and rarity. It is, in fact, the counterpart to another celebrated Albrecht production, the “Lion and Lamb” rifle. Both guns were found at the same place in Britain. “The rifle in our sale was almost certainly taken home by a British troop as a war souvenir or battle trophy,” said Morphy Auctions founder Dan Morphy. Estimate: $125,000–$175,000.
One of only three known Fort Pitt horns by the noted artist known as the “Pointed Tree Carver” dates to the 1760s and displays images of the Allegheny and Monongahela River confluence, a hunter and hounds, a banner labeled “PITSBOURG,” and the British Great Seal. A book example, its estimate is $20,000–$30,000.
Another top prize is Annie Oakley’s “Little Miss Sure Shot” rifle. The custom-made Stevens Model 44 .24-20 single-shot production is a testament to the American shooting prodigy whose prowess was noticed at an early age and eventually led to worldwide fame as a star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The rifle is engraved in high relief, with “ANNIE OAKLEY” on one side of the frame and “NUTLEY N.J.” (location of Oakley and husband Frank Butler’s first home) on the other. It is pictured on three pages of R.I. Wilson’s book about Buffalo Bill. Estimate: $200,000–$400,000.
An extremely rare, all-original Singer M1911-A1 .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol is one of only 500 made during World War II, mostly for the US Army Air Corps. Estimate: $125,000–$175,000.
All forms of remote bidding are available, including absentee, phone and live online through Morphy Live. Private gallery previews by appointment only, in compliance with government guidelines re: Covid-19 pandemic. For additional information, to leave an absentee bid, arrange for a private gallery preview or set up a phone line for bidding, call 877-968-8880 or email [email protected]. Online: www.morphyauctions.com.