It’s official. Bo Whoop hammered down for $175,000.*
Once lost, now found, America’s most famous shotgun was auctioned off today by James D. Julia Auctions in Fairfield, Maine. Bidding opened at $50,000 and and clawed its way to $175,000. From about $125,000 on, two phone bidders went toe-to-toe for the fabled gun.
Bo Whoop is the A.H. Fox HE grade double-barrel shotgun made in 1926 for American sporting legend Nash Buckingham. Mr. Buckingham took the gun on many of his adventures and wrote about it in his stories. Bo Whoop was lost in 1948. It resurfaced in 2005.
Bo Whoop is a big, heavy side-by-side shotgun made for 3″ shells. The barrels were bored by legendary metal man Burt Becker. More about this famous gun from Julia’s site:
“According to the referenced publication, in 1926 Buckingham commissioned a 12 gauge Super-Fox waterfowl gun. He specified that the bbls be bored by Burt Becker, chambered for 3” shells and regulated it for the new Super-X load of 4 drams powder & 1-3/8 oz. of #4 copper clad shot.
This gun frequently was written about by Nash in various articles and thus became familiar to the vast readership of Buckingham, eventually making it one of the most famous shotguns in the world and certainly the most famous Fox shotgun ever built. According to the referenced publication the finished gun weighed just under 10 lbs. and when it left the factory both bbls would place 90% of the shot charge into a 30″ circle at 40 yards. Becker then stamped Nash Buckingham’s name on one bbl and his own name on the other.
Nash’s close friend, hunting companion and outdoor writer Harold Sheldon, nicknamed the great shotgun “Bo-Whoop” (in reference to the thunderous sound it made each time Nash shot it). Buckingham’s fame continued to grow as a sport and writer when on Dec. 1, 1948, after a morning of duck shooting near Clarendon, Arkansas, he and Cliff Green were stopped by game wardens for a license check. Reportedly one of the wardens placed “Bo-Whoop”, in its case, on the fender of Green’s car. The shotgun was forgotten about and left on the fender as they drove away, falling off into oblivion sometime later. “Bo-Whoop” was lost.
However “Bo-Whoop” really wasn’t lost, just no one knew exactly where it was, that is until the late 1950’s or early 1960’s when, according to a notarized affidavit from the consignor, his Grandfather purchased this shotgun with a broken stock from an unnamed man for $50 (the man was asking $100). The broken shotgun remained in his Grandfather’s closet until his death in 1991 and was passed on to the consignor’s Father. It remained in storage for the next 14 years. In 2005, the Father decided it was time to have the gun properly repaired. He took it to Jim Kelly of Darlington, SC who informed the Father of the shotgun’s history, Nash Buckingham, and how famous both shotgun and man were. Kelly faithfully recreated the broken stock in about a year and the shotgun went back into storage.
In January 2009 the shotgun was handed down to the consignor who, now aware of the shotgun’s history and fame, has decided to allow it to be sold to someone who will appreciate it for what it is and honor the memory of Nash Buckingham and the legend of “Bo-Whoop”. While Nash’s loss of “Bo-Whoop” was a considerable personal loss, at least it was not a financial loss; Buckingham received a cash settlement from his insurance company for its loss. A final chapter in the long and drawn out history of Bo-Whoop appears in Buckingham’s book Letters to John Bailey where on p. 37 in a letter dated Dec. 2,1948, he details the loss of “Bo-Whoop”. “I feel like I did when Chubby died. It’s fully insured but I’ll never get another friend like that gun.” Chubby was Nash’s loyal and beloved Spaniel. In July 1950, Barry Brooks and George Warner, friends of Buckingham, conspired to replace Bo-Whoop. They contacted Burt Becker, who was now 80 years old to make another gun (“Bo-Whoop II”).
That shotgun was completed by or under the direct supervision of Mr. Becker at a cost of $750 and bears the SN 121, which is in Mr. Becker’s own serial range. Mr. Buckingham used Bo-Whoop II until 1968 when he was 88 years old, when age had made it impossible for him to use this heavy old shotgun so he sold it to his friend Dr. William Andrews of Memphis, TN. This gun is now on display at the national Duck’s Unlimited headquarters.”
*On top of this is the buyer’s premium: 15% for cash, 17% for credit card.
Nash Buckingham used this gun to hunt ducks on historic Beaver Dam Lake. Here’s more about A.H. Fox HE grade side-by-side shotguns, also known as Super Foxes. This info is from Micheal McIntosh’s book about Fox shotguns.