Historic Civil War Gatling gun conquers all for $280,000

Greg Martin Auctions offered an exciting range of historic militaria and firearms at its California sale on June 26-27.

The sale was primarily based around the German military pistols collection of Joe and Brian Buffer, but featured other exceptional treasures including two Confederate Civil War flags and something way more powerful than a pistol...

Collectors had the opportunity to own a genuine 1876 Gatling gun, manufactured in Hartford, Connecticut. The gun boasts ten musket-length 32" round, partially-octagonal bright steel barrels.

Our report in the run-up to the sale noted that it had already attracted a pre-sale bid of $90,000.

1876 Gatling Gun for sale
The 1876 Gatling gun, manufactured in Hartford, Connecticut

Marked as having been issued to the New Jersey National Guard, the 1876 Gatling was built during a significant period of the US Government's campaigns against hostiles in the West. It was also a featured display at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, of 1876.

Dr R J Gatling himself was present at the exhibition's opening day of May 10, 1876, presided over by President Ulysses S Grant. Grant duly awarded Gatling a medal for his fearsome new invention.

With a pre-sale estimate of $175,000-$250,000, it was clear from the off that the Gatling was going to be as big a contender on the auction block as it was on the battlefield. The gun eventually commanded a final price of $280,000.

Two flags captured from a Civil War Confederate fleet in the 1860s

Elsewhere in the sale were two Civil War flags dated to 1864 and captured from the CSS Tennessee, when Rear Admiral David G Farragut's Federal fleet attacked a smaller Confederate fleet and three forts at Mobile Bay, a key inlet in the Gulf of Mexico.

As a result of the bloody conflict, the continued presence of a Union Army force near Mobile constrained the Confederate Army in its last desperate campaigns during the Civil War. Farragut's Lt Commander, GH Perkins, later gifted the flags to his friend Captain Noyes as a New Year's present.

Measuring 18 inches x between 40-50 inches, both flags were described by Greg Martin Auctions as being in very good condition, with age wear and minor snags to the fabric. They comfortably exceeded their lower $15,000 estimate, eventually realising $19,975.


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