James D. Julia, Inc. held their semi-annual firearms auction on October 5-6, 2010. Included in the sale was a rare shotgun made by the Ansley H. Fox Gun Company exclusively for President Theodore Roosevelt.
According to records from the Fox Gun Company, work was started on the gun on September 18, 1908 and was completed sometime in February, 1909, according to a thank you note from President Roosevelt. The gift was made especially for Roosevelt’s African safari in 1909. Upon receipt of the gun, the President wrote to Mr. Fox on February 11, 1909 “the double-barreled shotgun has come, and I really think it is the most beautiful gun I have ever seen. I am exceedingly proud of it. I am almost ashamed to take it to Africa and expose it to the rough usage it will receive. But now that I have it, I could not possibly make up my mind to leave it behind. I am greatly obliged to you, and I am extremely proud that I am to have such a beautiful bit of American workmanship with me”. Then five days later on February 16, 1909, President Roosevelt again wrote to Mr. Fox “do let me thank you most warmly again for that beautiful gun. It is so beautiful that I take pleasure in just looking at it. I shall keep it as long as I live, and when I die it shall go to my son Kermit who accompanies me on my African trip.”
Roosevelt’s son Kermit inherited it after his death, and then his son, Kermit Roosevelt Jr. In 1974, Kermit Jr., and the Roosevelt family decided to sell all of the family firearms. The Fox shotgun was sold to Thomas C. Kidd, a Fox historian. Then on February 22, 2000, Kidd sold the gun to an undisclosed buyer, who consigned the gun to Julia’s.
The gun was sold as lot 1129 on October 5, 2010, for $862,500, the highest price ever paid at auction for a shotgun. The quality of the gun, together with its impressive history and provenance proved irresistible to collectors.
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