Morphy’s May 28 auction features Ron G. Gabel Antique Firearms Collection On Saturday, May 28, 2011, Morphy’s will auction – without reserve – the premier Ron G. Gabel collection of antique firearms, with a featured selection of early Philadelphia guns and rifles.
News-Antique.com - May 27,2011 - DENVER, Pa. – On Saturday, May 28, 2011, Morphy’s will auction – without reserve – the premier Ron G. Gabel collection of antique firearms. This highly regarded collection includes an extensive array of muzzle-loading sporting guns and rifles by the largest variety of Philadelphia gunmakers ever offered in public auction.
Many of the early Philadelphia guns and rifles are the only examples to have been found in more than 50 years of collecting. Many pieces are in fine to excellent condition, while others – the sole survivors – are in as-found average condition.
Ron Gabel is a nationally known figure in the world of antique arms collecting, and he has spent many, many years putting together the fine assemblage of arms to be auctioned. This collection consists of signed pistols, half-stock rifles, and both single and double barrel shotguns – all of which are Philadelphia marked. All of these guns will be featured in Ron’s forthcoming book on Philadelphia gunsmiths of the 19th century.
One of the greatest assets to this collection is its condition status. All of these items range from good to excellent, condition-wise, without significant repairs or restorations.
Condition can play a very important part in value in today’s antique-arms collecting world, as prices tend to be the very strongest for articles without major flaws or imperfections.
Over the many years, Mr. Gabel has studiously sought out items in good, or better, condition to fill out the collection. He has scoured the various venues, such as shows, auctions and private collections to assemble this grouping, always factoring in the condition of an item.
The auction contents include: Pistols: Krider, Constable, Robertson, Kunz, Lechler, Spang & Wallace. Shotguns: Kaye, Spang & Wallace, Solomon, Krider, Biddle, Vallee, Anschutz, Evans, Conrad & Walton, Keyser & Gelzer. Half stock & single-barrel shotguns: Hallowell & Meyers, Koons, Lower, Golcher, Slotter & Co., Krider, Anschutz, Kilpatrick, Kaye, J. Wurfflein, Solomon, Afflerbach, Calderwood, A. Wurfflein & Robertson. Also: Muzzle-loading sporting guns, rifles by the largest variety of Philadelphia gunmakers ever to come to auction.
“It is important to note that this sale will allow buyers to get in on the ground floor, so to speak, as the full value of these singular pieces has not yet peaked,” said Morphy’s Firearms expert Stephen D. Hench. “Today, many firearms and their related accoutrements may sell in the tens of thousands of dollars, whereas all of these guns are conservatively estimated at a fraction of those prices. This sale is completely unreserved, therefore many auctions lots may well start at their low estimate.”
Hench explained why Philadelphia guns are so important and collectible: “Although many European gunsmiths passed through Philadelphia because it was a seaport city and the largest city in the country in early years, almost all of them moved on to set up shop outside the city. Philadelphia was circled by forts for security, and food was brought in by traders. Only in the second half of the 19th century as shooting clubs, hunting, and sport