Image Lot Price Description

Revised: 2/20/2007 

*NEAR MYTHICAL LOST CZAR OF RUSSIA PARKER A1 SPECIAL GRADE DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUN. Cal. 12 ga. SN 168304. Built on a No. 2 frame, this spectacular shotgun has 32″ Whitworth steel bbs choked FULL/FULL with tapered, concave matted rib, sgl bead, doll’s head rib extension, ejectors & gold washed, checkered dbl triggers. Mounted with very highly figured, replacement checkered, straight stock with skeleton buttplate, 15″ LOP. Splinter forearm is orig to this shotgun with superb full coverage, very fine checkering & fleur-de-lis carved patterns. Water table has usual markings of “A1S” in a trapezoid surmounted with a small “S”, which is all above the serial number. Below the serial number is the number “8”, followed by a matching small “S”, probably indicating a Grade 8 with special features. Receiver and all appended metal parts are all spectacularly engraved in deep relief foliate & floral arabesque patterns with triggerguard and about 2-1/2″ over chambers engraved to match. Muzzles have a narrow engraved pattern. Fences have a very deep relief fleur-de-lis on each side with three raised ribs around rear edges. The tiny thumb pad on opening lever is pierced carved. The skeleton buttplate is orig Parker equipment and fully engraved, but not in matching patterns and has serial number “230959” inside toe. Stock has a large gold initial oval engraved “H.S.”, the initials of the gentleman who originally bought this shotgun from Parker Bros. Accompanied by a 2-page typewritten orig letter on “The Parker Gun” letterhead stationery dated December 16, 1915, addressed “Dear Hal” and signed by Wilbur F. Parker, Jr. The body of letter acknowledges payment for the “Czar Gun” and wishes him success on his trip to Canada and regrets that he has not yet had an opportunity to shoot the “Czar Gun”. The central paragraph states “This gun which you purchased was originally ordered by the officers of the staff of the Czar of Russia, to be presented to him by them. The gun was ordered from Parker Bros., to be absolutely first class in every respect, and of our highest grade. The gun was shipped from here by express in July, 1914, but before the Express Company was able to forward it from New York, war broke out in Europe, and the gun was returned to us. After keeping it for several months, – being unable to get in touch with the people in Russia who had contracted for the gun, we decided to sell it, and are pleased to know that you are the possessor of this splendid gun. It certainly is a work of art, and has, in our opinion, few, if any equals in this country today.” The letter goes on with a small sales pitch and personal regards from the writer indicating a personal friendship. Also accompanying is a small certificate from The Whitworth Company of Manchester, England, dated February 12, 1912 to Parker Bros. stating that two sets of bbls, Nos. 45649 & 45650 were manufactured with Whitworth Fluid Pressed Steel. No. 45649 is the number of the bbls on this shotgun. Bottom of note is overstamped by Parker Bros. certifying that gun No. 168304 was made with above tubes. Additionally accompanying are four orig Parker Bros. hang tags, two of which give specifications for this shotgun. The other two are instructional in content. Also accompanying is the orig envelope from the orig purchaser, upon which is written in grease pencil, “PARKER GUN WHITWORTH GUN CERTIF.” Additional accompaniment is a 2-page Parker Gun Collectors Association letter fully identifying this shotgun as above and incorporating all of the order book information as listed above. Further included are five pages of copies of the Parker order books detailing the information regarding this shotgun as reported above. On pp. 658-666 of Vol. II, The Parker Story, Gunther, Mullins, Parker, Price, Cote, details all of the known information regarding this shotgun. Authors state that it was ordered March 5, 1914 by a Col. Tarnovski, as found in Order Book #91, p. 78, Order #138479, dated March 6th. The order was from O.R. Dickey of Wellington, Massachusetts. The price was $375.00 for shotgun plus $18.75 for ejectors. This was the cost of an A1 Special at that time, having been reduced from previously higher price of $500.00. This section also deals with the apparent misconception of the configuration of the Czar of Russia Parker as related in the 1961 book, Parker, America’s Finest Shotgun, Peter H. Johnson, wherein Mr. Johnson had relied on word of mouth descriptions from various employees as to the actual configuration, which the authors of The Parker Story have completely debunked. This section further clarifies the confusion regarding the shipping of this shotgun on July 30, 1914, to the Russian/American lines on Pier 5 in Brooklyn, NY. The shotgun was subsequently returned to Parker Bros., apparently because WWI had broken out and for whatever reason, the shotgun did not make its way onto a ship bound for Russia. The Johnson book states that the stock & forearm were gold inlaid and that the Russian crest with 2-headed eagle was inlaid in gold on the trigger bow. One of the notes on p. 78 of the Order Book states “Dickey suggests no gold plated triggers or gold in trigger bow” which further debunks the Johnson story as probably selective or creative memory by former employees as related thirty to forty years after the actual manufacture of the shotgun. Reading the complete section in The Parker Story coupled with the orig letter that accompanies the shotgun leaves no doubt that this is the orig and only “Czar of Russia” Parker shotgun. Page 456 of Parker Gun Identification & Serialization lists this shotgun as a Grade “W7” with remaining features as found on the shotgun. Grade W7 indicates a AAH Grade shotgun with Whitworth Steel bbls rather than the A1 Special which this shotgun undoubtedly is. The explanation for the error in the book, Parker Gun Identification & Serialization is from the author, Charlie Herzog. Mr. Herzog explained that when he was instructing the data entry person for this book he taught them to determine the grade based on the sale price recorded in the Parker records. Initially the price for an A1 Special was $500.00 and a AAH Grade was $375.00. At that time he was unaware that the A1 Special price had been reduced to $375.00 just before this shotgun was ordered and therefore the data entry person recorded it as an AAH grade. When this shotgun was ordered for the Czar the orig specifications for the buttstock was for a 14” LOP. Later, the American buyer, obviously a larger man than the Czar, had the orig buttstock replaced with one having its current 15” LOP. There are no records of when this work was done but we are reasonably certain that it occurred sometime in the 1930’s and was likely ordered through Abercrombie & Fitch. It is known that the American owner was a frequent customer at Abercrombie & Fitch and in fact the case, which fits this longer stock perfectly, is an Abercrombie & Fitch case. Additionally accompanied by this maroon felt lined, Abercrombie & Fitch tan leather trunk case compartmented for the shotgun, a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch nickeled snap caps and an Abercrombie & Fitch nickeled square oil bottle. Also contained is a 2-pc ebony & brass wiping rod, jag & mop and a red leather covered bbl protector. Top of lid is embossed “H.S.” Bore restrictions: left – .036, right – .039. Wall thickness: left – .035, right – .033. Bore diameter: left – .731, right – .734. Drop at heel: 1-5/8″, drop at comb: 1-1/2″. Weight: 7 lbs. 12.8 oz. CONDITION: Fine to very fine. Bbls retain virtually all of a fine, bright, professionally restored finish. Receiver & triggerguard are dark metal color with a heavy coating of old dried oil showing very light wear. Wood is sound with orig forearm retaining most of its orig finish with light diamond point wear in checkering. Stock has light handling & storage marks and retains most of its fine custom finish. Triggers retain most of their orig gold wash. Mechanics are fine, brilliant shiny bores. Case is equally fine. 4-30228 JR1 (225,000-325,000)

Auction: Firearms - Spring 2007
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.