Bidders Aimed High at Morphy’s $3.4M Auction of Paul Friedrich Firearms and Gold Rush Collection

Historic Winchester ‘1 of 1000’ 1876 lever-action rifle swept the field, selling for $344,400

DENVER, Pa., Nov. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — America’s wild and woolly frontier days came to life on October 25 as Morphy Auctions presented Part I of the venerable Paul Friedrich Collection. The single-owner sale honored an immensely important 60-year legacy that Paul’s family specifically wanted to perpetuate through other collectors who shared his passion. Led by a fabulous selection of rare and historical firearms, the auction lineup also featured a rich array of Gold Rush and Old West artifacts, including fine gold jewelry, coins and nuggets; gambling items, antique advertising and many other intriguing curios. In total, the 355-lot auction bonanza cashed out at $3,454,916.

The top prize of the Friedrich collection was an exceedingly rare and important Winchester “1 of 1000” 1876 lever-action rifle. The famous longarm is depicted in R.I. Wilson’s reference book Winchester: The Golden Age of Gunmaking and the Winchester 1 of 1000. Marked with the serial number 724, it was made during the model’s first year of production and is one of few three-digit examples of its type known to exist. In superlative condition, it sold within estimate for $344,400.

The magical Colt name made several appearances in the auction’s top 10. A blued, factory-engraved .45-caliber Colt Model 1878 Frontier Double Action Revolver, shipped in 1892, was described in Morphy’s catalog as “quite possibly the highest-condition example known” and “a legend in the Colt-collecting community.” With a record of former owners that reads like a who’s who of the hobby, the famed revolver conveyed with a Colt factory letter and other supportive literature, selling just below its high estimate for $123,000.

An outstanding factory-engraved Colt .38-caliber Super Match semi-automatic pistol with pearl grips and engraving attributed to Wilbur Glahn was shipped to Abercrombie & Fitch in 1935 and purchased the following year. The stellar firearm is featured in Timothy J Mullin’s 1999 book American Beauty: The Prewar Colt National Match Government Model Pistol. Its provenance includes both the TJ Mullin and Robert Settani collections. The pistol exceeded high estimate to retire at $153,750.

A factory-engraved Colt Model 1877DA Lightning Sheriff’s Model .38-caliber revolver with handsome mother-of-pearl grips displayed matching serial numbers on the frame, trigger guard and backstrap. A Colt Archive letter accompanying the gun confirmed it was one of two guns sent together in an 1893 shipment. With its original pink picture box, it claimed $92,250 against an estimate of $25,000$35,000.

A museum-worthy Cuno Helfricht-engraved Colt Single Action Army Revolver with ox-head ivory grips, shipped solo in 1912, sold for $88,560; while a factory-engraved (by C.G. Tuffy) .44-40 WCF Colt New Service Target Double Action Revolver with carved mother-of-pearl steer-head grips, originally shipped in 1925, swiftly reached $86,100 against an estimate of $30,000$50,000.

The collection included a gold ingot salvaged from the famed shipwreck of the steamship Central America. Known as the “Ship of Gold,” the Central America sank in 1857 while en route to New York City from Panama. Weighing 469 grams and graded .980 fine, the nugget surpassed its high estimate at $40,590.

An April 30, 2024 date has been tentatively chosen for Morphy’s sale of the Paul Friedrich Firearms & Gold Rush Collection Part II. On December 6-8, 2023, Morphy’s will conduct a Firearms, Militaria & Edged Weapons Auction featuring fine antique, vintage and modern productions, including 107 NFA lots. To discuss consigning to a future Morphy’s firearms auction, call +1 877-968-8880 or email
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SOURCE Morphy Auctions