Historic Little Big Horn Rifle Helps Auction Reach $8 Million in Sales

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posted on June 4, 2019
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Over $8 million in revenue was generated from the recent auction of many historic firearms, including the sale on a Springfield Trumpeteer .45-.55 cal.trapdoor carbine at Morphy Auctions, based in Denver, Pa. The firearm recently sold at auction for $98,400.

The above image is similar to the rifle sold during the auction and is part of the NRA Museum’s collections.

The gun is significant for its identification as of one of the firearms carried and fired during the 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn by soldier John Martin, courtesy of efforts by the Custer Battlefield Firearms Identification Project.

Dan Morphy, president of the auction company, said the auction was “tremendous—one of our best ever in terms of registered bidders, and with the highest percentage of new bidders and buyers we’ve ever seen.”

Buyers at auctions should do their research to set limits before investing in a firearm, lest they have a case of buyer’s remorse.

It is also important to know when to stop bidding.

According to an expert, “The single most important rule of buying at auction is to mentally set a limit for how much you're going to pay for an item that's being offered and sticking to it. Many of the other rules will relate back to this fundamental concept. Never assume that a gun must be worth it because the other fellow is still bidding.”

Potential buyers should “read and understand the terms” of the auction. Pay attention to the fine print of the Terms of Sale, for what is meant explicitly in handling and status of the items, as well as returns. Knowing the difference between “absolute auction” and “subject to reserve” will defray confusion regarding sale and price of items.

Buyers of potential firearms or other historical firearm paraphernalia are recommended to do their research on the particular item or items they are interested in to know what is a realistic value of the item, versus the auction house markup. Buyers should take the opportunity ahead of time to do a detailed inspection of the gun, with permission from the auction house.

For more information on historic firearms, visit NRAMuseum.org.

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