The hammer dropped today at Julias on this stunning Boss O/U. When the action stopped, one hand was up and the bid was $165,000! With the 15% premium, that means the new owner of this spectacular double barrel shotgun will write a check for about $190,000.
I saw this over-and-under shotgun at Julia’s preview on Saturday. I was fortunate to run into a friend there. My friend has been chasing fine guns since the ’60s. He has the knowledge, skills, and background to know fine doubles. When I asked him about this Boss, he told me it was one of the best, and maybe the finest, British double he has ever seen. It did have it all – quality, condition, vintage, and rarity time two (a rare Boss single, selective trigger, and an even rarer rising-bite-style Boss action) – and it’s a gun that couldn’t be duplicated today at any price.
The James D. Julia Auction Company started their spring 2009 firearms auction yesterday, 3/16. Even though the economy stinks, there’s still money out there for good double barrel shotguns.
Several nice Parkers brought big money, although many of them missed their pre-sale estimates. This nice 20g A-1 Special with 32″ bbls hammered down at $95,000 (plus a 15% buyer’s premium). That’s a lot, but quite a bit below the auctioneer’s $120,000 – $150,000 estimate. While the gun is one of just a few 20g A-1 Specials Parker made, it had been “restored” some (reblued barrels, refinished wood) and that hurt it’s value.
This Parker AAHE 20g was another nice gun that went for big money, but failed to reach its low end estimate. The bidding on this one ended at $55,000, just under the pre-sale estimate of $60,000 – $90,000. The bbl and wood on this one had also been refinished – something the big spenders do not like to see.
One nice Parker that did beat its low-end estimate was was this very cool 28g CHE . This gun went to a buyer for $48,000 against an estimate of $30,000 – $60,000. Why did it do well? On top of being a small bore with very unique monte-carlo-style straight gripped stock, it’s excellent original condition. Almost all of the original barrel blue and color case hardening are present and the wood looks right too. And when it comes to guns, condition is king. Auction after auction has proven that buyers will pay a fat premium for it.
That being said, this Parker GHE 28g went for $48,000, just shy of it’s low-end estimate of $50,000. This gun was in fantastic, all original condition – pretty much new all around with all its blueing, color-case hardening, and wood finish – and it had great wood and a solid provenance. Even though it’s a gun I would give my pinkies to own, I think there’s a simple reason it failed to blast past the estimate: the estimate was just too high. Prices for nice Parkers have skyrocket over the last few years. In the case of this gun, I think the auctioneer was bit too hopeful of what this gun was worth today.
On the more affordable side, a few nice Parkers did sell for under $5,000. This damascus-barreled 12g GH went for $2,750 – not a bad price considering all the original condition it had. A gun like this would be a nice place for a new Parker fan to start building a collection.
Julia’s auction continues today, with lots of Colts and other stuff coming up. I’ll report back soon with info on other American doubles along with info on some British stuff, including a Rigby .450 double rifle and beautiful set of Purdey percussion guns.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, let me know.