The gun you see here is one of the legends of American gunmaking. The FE was Fox’s finest shotgun. Few of them were built, and just six of those were twenty gauges. Morphy Auctions sold it this spring for $159,900 ($130,000+ buyer’s premium)!
Brand new in 1939, a twenty-gauge FE cost $525 — about the same as a Parker AHE and half what Abercrombie & Fitch wanted for a new Purdey. A Fox Sterlingworth with ejectors cost $57.75.
LOT 2237: FRESH TO MARKET AND RECENTLY DISCOVERED TRULY INCREDIBLE NEAR MINT AND EXCEEDINGLY RARE 20g A.H. FOX FE-GRADE SXS SHOTGUN: Perhaps the most exciting discovery in American Sporting shotgun collecting in the past 20 years, and offered for sale publicly for the first time since new is the very last A.H. Fox FE Grade 20 Bore presented here. In total, there are believed to have been just six FE Grade 20 bore guns made, three in Philadelphia, and three by Savage Arms after their takeover of the A.H. Fox Gun Company.
Several of the other FE Grade 20 bore guns are known to collectors and this gun, previously rumored but not before offered publicly, has recently surfaced in Colorado where its current owner consigned it with our firm. The gun was made with #3 weight 28″ Chromox barrels which have a low profile raised ventilated matted rib with twin ivory beads. Barrels with chain border at muzzles and hand engraved “CHROMOX FLUID STEEL” / SAVAGE ARMS CORP., UTICA, N.Y. U.S.A.” on tops. Barrels also engraved with 2 – 3/4″ wedge of engraving at breech ends with gold lightning bolts – the signature on a FE Grade Fox! Made with beavertail forend which is finely checkered in point and tear drop pattern and also carved in fleur-de-lis towards action. The case hardened Deeley release is fully engraved as is forend iron, which is also hand engraved with serial number and simple scroll on the inside. Action is full coverage engraved, signed by W.H. Gough twice, once in front of the nickel plated trigger “ENG. BY W.H.G.” and once on the right side of the action on top of the game scene “Gough”.
Action with gold inlaid stars on hinge pin, gold inlaid setter on right, pointer on left, all surrounded by perfectly executed shaded floral scroll. Top lever and top tang are fully engraved and “SAFE” in gold in front of engraved safety button. One large quail and five chicks are found on the bottom ahead of the trigger plate in game scene. Trigger plate is fully engraved in floral scroll pattern. Trigger guard is fully engraved in floral scroll and gold inlaid “E.A. GRIM MD” on bow and serial number in gold on tang. Beautifully figured fiddleback European Walnut buttstock is of capped pistol grip configuration and terminates with its original skeleton buttplate which is case hardened and fully engraved. The butt is beautifully checkered in fleur-de-lis through the wrist with ribbands and checkered side panels with fleur-de-lis pattern. Housed in a beautiful Huey oak and leather case no. 194 made for this gun. Made with single selective trigger, auto ejectors and auto safety. According to the factory records, this gun was ordered new by Dr. E.A. Grim in the exact same configuration and nearly exact same condition as today.
The gun was special ordered with the skeleton buttplate, large forend, ventilated rib, gold name on trigger guard single trigger, and two ivory beads. Of note, the gun was requested to be proofed with black powder loads for 2 – 3/4″ chambers – a very late black powder proofing! According to our consignor, Dr. Grim died before taking possession of the gun. His widow then gave the gun to his physician partner who had it until the time of his passing in the 1970s. From there the gun was sold to a private collector in Colorado until being consigned to our firm earlier this year. CONDITION: Extremely fine and near mint. It would be hard to imagine a gun of this age and quality remaining in a finer state of preservation than this gun. It retains virtually all of its bold original barrel blue and case colors with almost no sign of any wear at all. The gun appears to have been test fired only with only the very faintest of shell ring on the right side of the standing breech. There are a couple of very minor handling marks and impressions in the stock but it is overall near mint. The case is very good with some rubs and scratches in the leather and outer straps are missing. Simply put, when it comes to Fox shotguns, truly there are none finer than this offering. This gun is suited for the most discriminating buyer of sporting arms and is a treasure in American Gun collecting and American Gun Art at its highest form. JSL Accessories: Case Barrel Length: 28″ Barrel Wall Thickness: (L) .023 (R) .026 Chamber: 2 – 3/4″ Choke: (L) .014 (R) .028 Drop at Comb: 1 – 11/16″ Drop at Heel: 3″ FFL Status: Curio & Relic Gauge: 20 Bore Internal Bore Diameter: (BOTH) .625 Length of Pull: 13 – 1/2″ From rear position single selective trigger Manufacturer: A.H. Fox Model: FE Grade SxS Serial Number: 203760 Weight: 6 lbs 6 oz. SOLD FOR: $159,900