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DENVER, Nov. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- On Nov. 17-18, Morphy's will present its fall 2021 Extraordinary Firearms Auction, the latest in a series known for its premier consignments from long-held private collections. As always, a historically important firearm will serve as the marquee piece, following in the footsteps of such icons as the flintlock musket that fired the first shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill (sold by Morphy's for $492,000, Oct. 23, 2019). The November sale's signature firearm is one of the most renowned and coveted of all known Colt single-action Army Revolvers: Mel Guy's "Buntline Special."
A dedicated collector of more than 300 antique Colt six-shooters, the late Mel Guy spent decades trying to track down an elusive Buntline, visually distinctive for its 16-inch barrel and linked to a legend involving famous lawmen of the Old West. As the story goes, in 1931 author Stuart Lake released a largely fictionalized biography titled Wyatt Earp – Frontier Marshall. According to Lake, 19th-century dime novelist Edward Judson (pen name: Ned Buntline) once commissioned Colt to produce five single-action Army revolvers – known as Buntline Specials – to present to Dodge City lawmen in appreciation for sharing their frontier yarns with him. One of those recipients, Judson said, was Wyatt Earp.
Guy became obsessed with the possibility that one of those five Buntlines might actually exist. He spent decades searching until he finally found what he believed to be the genuine article, and it is the very gun to be auctioned by Morphy's this month. At the time of Guy's acquisition of the Buntline, some questioned why a serial number did not appear on its cylinder. This was resolved by further research and old Colt factory records confirming that some Buntlines were, indeed, manufactured without serial numbers on their cylinders. Furthermore, Mel Guy's revolver was definitively identified as the last of the first generation of Buntlines that Colt shipped. Were any of the original Buntline Specials gifted to Wyatt Earp? "That has never been proven or, for that matter, disproven," said Dan Morphy, president of Morphy Auctions. "However, Stuart Lake wrote in the Wyatt Earp biography that, of the five who received Buntlines from Judson, only Earp kept his pistol at its original length. The other four men supposedly cut the barrels of their guns down to the standard 7½ inches or shorter."
The Buntline Special became inextricably tied to the enduring Wyatt Earp myth. In the 1955-'61 TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, the Old West lawman and gunfighter is rarely seen without the studio version of his trademark long-barreled weapon. This media exposure led to a revival of interest in Buntlines and inspired Colt to introduce a limited number of large-bore Single Action Armies with 12-inch barrels, which they named "Buntline Specials."
Accompanied by extensive provenance and numerous letters from well-known Colt collectors and experts attesting to the revolver's authenticity and originality, Mel Guy's Buntline Special comes to auction with a $400,000-$800,000 estimate.
The November auction includes a fantastic selection of single-action Colt revolvers, "Henry".44-caliber lever-action rifles, fine shotguns, 100 NFA lots, Confederate President Jefferson Davis' personal pocketwatch, and an extraordinary Revolutionary War archive consisting of the personal and military effects of Union Brigadier General Moses Porter.
Bid live at the gallery, by phone, absentee, or live online through Morphy Live. Questions: call 877-968-8880, [email protected].
877-968-8880, [email protected]
SOURCE Morphy Auctions
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