On May 28, when the one-day Extraordinary, Sporting & Collector Firearms auction takes place at Morphy Auctions, in Denver, Pennsylvania, shotgun collectors will have the opportunity to purchase a rarity: the last of six 20-bore A.H. Fox FE Grade guns on record to surface in public—and in near-mint condition. It is one of three 20-bore FEs believed to have been made in Utica, New York, after Savage Arms took over Fox (the other three having been made in Philadelphia), and it may be the most collectible American-made shotgun to come up for public sale this year. The estimated price is $125,000 to $200,000.
The gun’s features match the original order of a physician who did not live long enough to take delivery: No. 3 weight, 28″ Chromox barrels with a low-profile ventilated, matte rib with twin ivory beads; full-coverage engraving—including gold dogs, stars and lightning bolts—signed by W.H. Gough; and a fiddleback European walnut stock.
Among recent comparables, in November 2017 a Fox FE 20-bore built in Philadelphia in 1926 sold for $166,750. This gun topped the sale at James D. Julia Auctioneers just a few months prior to Morphy Auctions acquiring the firm.
Other highlights of Morphy’s May auction include: a cased pair of London-best 16-bore E.J. Churchill Premiere over/unders with pinless sidelocks and 30″ barrels with 2¾” chambers and Improved Cylinder chokes (estimated at $80,000 to $90,000); a 12-bore James Purdey & Sons side-by-side self-opener circa 1967 that was engraved by Ken Hunt and has two sets of 27″ barrels (estimated at $50,000 to $65,000); and a cased pair of 20-bore Charles Boswell Pendragon O/Us made in 2008 with 30″ barrels, Teague chokes and traditional rose & scroll engraving (estimated at $17,500 to $25,000).
Early consignments also included a cased pair of Bosis Michelangelos and scads of L.C. Smiths, Parkers and Winchesters.
Morphy Auctions will display the lots at its gallery for approximately one month (Monday through Friday) prior to the sale and on Sunday, May 24. A one-day Early Arms and Militaria auction will be held May 27.
For more information, visit morphyauctions.com. —Ed Carroll