Rare, High-Priced Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

TFB:

The famous command given to Revolutionary War soldiers at the Battle of Bunker Hill – “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” – resulted in forever identifying the musket credited with the first shot fired against British troops on that fateful day in June of 1775. John Simpson, a Private in the 1st New Hampshire Regiment, was court martialed for disobeying orders, successfully documenting the gun that fired the first shot in the historic battle. However, Simpson was lightly punished and went on to serve in the rest of the war with distinction.

The gun that fired the first shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill is heading for sale Morphy Auctions in Denver later this month.

The Revolutionary War musket belonged to John Simpson, a Private in the 1st New Hampshire Regiment who fought during the historic battle in Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 17, 1775.

As the British troops advanced, Simpson fired his weapon prematurely – disobeying the famous order given to American soldiers not to fire “until you see the white of their eyes”.

Having been passed down by Simpson’s descendents for almost 250 years, the historic weapon will now be offered for sale for the first time, and is expected to sell for up to $300,000.

“We have the privilege of auctioning a firearm that symbolizes one of the most important battles leading to American independence,” said Dan Morphy, President of Morphy Auctions.

“It will be exciting to see whether the Simpson musket ends up in a private or institutional collection.”

In the comments one person says that “The father of the soldier testified for its authenticity.” I do wonder about authenticity and traceability.

I think I would rather have a rifle used by one of Francis Marion’s men. On another front and probably easier to prove authenticity, I had forgotten that Singer made 1911s.

As for the 500 Singer 1911s, those handguns went to arming Army Air Force aircrews, and today are among the most desirable guns in the world of arms and armor collecting. The small number produced, their high quality, and the even smaller number of guns that survived the war make them extremely rare. In December 2017, a Singer 1911 sold at auction for an eye-popping $414,000, one of the highest prices ever paid at auction for a handgun.

Yep.  I’ll take a couple with sequential serial numbers, please.


Comments

  1. On October 17, 2019 at 2:27 am, ROFuher said:

    I have a WWI era Colt, and a WWII Ithaca, but doubt a chance at a Singer will ever be within reach.

  2. On October 17, 2019 at 6:39 am, Andy said:

    MY father was a B-26 pilot in Europe in WWII. He told me that his issued .45 was built by Singer Sewing Machine. When he returned from overseas he put it and his binoculars in his footlocker and locked it.
    When he got his footlocker back it was still locked, but the .45 was gone.

  3. On October 17, 2019 at 8:21 am, Pat A Hines said:

    My father had a 1911 that was made by Remington Rand. Sadly, it was stolen when their home was burglarized in the early 1980s. They lived in Laurel Park, near Hendersonville.

  4. On October 17, 2019 at 9:34 am, Fred said:

    I’m confused. The gun was his? You mean that George Washington didn’t issue the gun to him and then confiscate it after the war? Do you mean that he was ARMED as part of the MILITIA to be later, as NECESSARY, WELL REGULATED under command on behalf a FREE STATE and thereby fulfilling his duty (proving that his RIGHT must not be INFRINGED if you prefer) to KEEP AND BEAR ARMS by God, and then after the war he returned to his post as part of a MILITIA not under command but to remain at the ready by BEARING ARMS if the ugly need of war were to arise again?

    This is just so weird; read this strange coincidence in the Constitution: A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

  5. On October 17, 2019 at 8:26 pm, Big Country said:

    I had NO IDEA they were that rare. I was in 3/18 INF CSC in 1992… Army Reserve 187th BDE In Danvers MA. No joke, I remember it perfectly… we HAD a Singer 1911 in our racks that was turned in when we drew our M-9s. I knew they were rare but THAT friggin rare???? I was the assistant Armorer back then… looking back now? It would have been worth the Article 15 to have ‘lost it’ during a weekend drill…

  6. On October 17, 2019 at 9:05 pm, Bad_Brad said:

    My comment has to do with more of that amazing war effort. My mother was born in Iowa and was working for Maytag, straight off the farm right before the war began. Maytag went from building manual crank wash machines to B24 parts in a heart beat. Try that today. (My father was a side gunner in a Liberator during WW2). Later on Her and her family moved to southern California. She met my father working on the B2A at North American Aviation. Now Boeing. The amazing part of this, to me at least, (I’m a machinist too) is how old that air frame actually is. Slide rules, while worth knowing, suck. Pro E and Solid works rock.

  7. On October 17, 2019 at 9:07 pm, Bad_Brad said:

    My comment has to do with more of that amazing war effort. My mother was born in Iowa and was working for Maytag, straight off the farm right before the war began. Maytag went from building manual crank wash machines to B24 parts in a heart beat. Try that today. (My father was a side gunner in a Liberator during WW2). Later on Her and her family moved to southern California. She met my father working on the B2A at North American Aviation. Now Boeing. The amazing part of this, to me at least, (I’m a machinist too) is how old that air frame actually is. Slide rules, while worth knowing, suck. Pro E and Solid works rock.

  8. On October 17, 2019 at 9:07 pm, Bad_Brad said:

    Oops, sorry

  9. On October 18, 2019 at 1:06 pm, Patrick Daly said:

    I thought my Ithaca was rare…..

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You are currently reading "Rare, High-Priced Guns", entry #22077 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published October 16th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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