Published: October 29, 2019
DENVER, PENN. — On October 23, Morphy Auctions sold the Dutch flintlock musket that fired the first shot at the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill for $492,000. Arguably the most significant, positively identified Revolutionary War long arm in existence, the .79-caliber gun was originally the property of Private John Simpson (1748-1825) of Deerfield, N.H., and had remained in his family by direct descent for the past 244 years.
As history recounts, Simpson fired an unauthorized first shot as the Redcoats advanced on Breed’s Hill (erroneously reported as Bunker Hill) against the order of Colonel William Prescott, who instructed colonial troops, “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes!”
“The Simpson gun symbolized one of the most important battles leading to American independence and came with impeccable family provenance and supportive documentation,” said Morphy Auctions’ founder and president Dan Morphy. “Bidders knew there was no question about this famous gun’s background and authenticity.”
While the buyer of the Bunker Hill musket wishes to remain anonymous, they have arranged for the gun to be put on public display at the National Museum of Military Vehicles in Dubois, Wyo., beginning in May 2020.
Watch for a more extensive review of this sale in a later issue.
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