Category Archive 'Morphy Auctions'

10 Oct 2019

Gun That Fired the First Shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill Goes to Auction

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The musket will be sold along with John Simpson’s original military commission dated March 17, 1778.

Just Collecting:

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. …

Following the battle, John Simpson was the only American soldier court martialed for disobeying an order and firing too early.

However, he was only lightly reprimanded and went on to serve with distinction during the war, rising to the rank of Major before returning home to his family farm in New Hampshire.

His trusty musket was then passed down through generations of his family, creating a remarkable unbroken line of ownership, and has been described as “arguably the most significant, positively identified Revolutionary War long arm in existence”.

Not only is John Simpson’s name forever linked with the Battle of Bunker Hill, but his descendents played an even greater role in shaping the history of the nation.

Simpson’s grandson was Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War hero and 18th President of the United States; and his great-grandson was Meriwether Lewis, who explored the Western territories of the country as part of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition.



Morphy Auction Lot Description

05 Nov 2017

At Yesterday’s Auction

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Webley Mark VI 1917 Revolver with Rare Pritchard Greener Bayonet.

Lot #998
Low Estimate: 2,000 High Estimate: 3,000

Sold for: $1,300.00 (plus 25% buyer premium)

This revolver has all matching serial numbers and features six shot, double action, octagon barrel. Lanyard ring removed. Chip in lower left grip. Cylinder never trimmed. All British inspector stamps. Indexes and locks up perfectly. Very good rifled bore. Crisp factory stamps. Metal is basically soft plum gun metal grey. Very good example of a 1917 dated Webley used in the trenches during World War I. It is accompanied by a scarce Pritchard Greener bayonet that attaches to the revolver. Has a brass hilt, 8-1/4″ blade. Patterned after a shortened French Gras bayonet. Right side of the guard is stamped “W.W.G.” in oval with elephant facing blade. Also stamped “Patent No. 171143/16”. Description of this invention can be found on pages 115-116 and seen on plate 52 in “The Webley Story” by Dowell. This exact style bayonet with identical markings was sold alone at a major auction house September, 2014. Maker for a wicked looking weapon. Accessories: bayonet with sheath. Barrel Length: 6″. Caliber/Bore: .455 Webley.

Expensive, but apparently quite a bargain. The rare bayonet has sold for over $2000 alone at auction. You can actually buy a replica at Amazon for $149.95 (or $124.95 in a lesser quality version).

Impressive looking, but one does wonder: did any British officer ever actually use one of these during WWI?

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