January 11, 2010
Bourjaily: Shelling Out for "Bo Whoop"
By Phil Bourjaily
Dave and I get chided from time to time for writing about guns that cost too much for ordinary people to buy. Today’s topic is a gun I can pretty safely predict none of us will be able to afford: Nash Buckingham’s “Bo-Whoop,” probably the most famous waterfowl gun ever, goes on the auction block in March. Buckingham’s Super Fox, named for the sound of its report, has been missing for over 60 years, making it the Maltese Falcon of American doubles. Some people think it may fetch even more than the $287,500 brought in 2007 by the Parker A-1 Special made for (and never delivered to) Czar Nicholas II of Russia in 1914,
Bo Whoop is an HE grade Super Fox made in 1927 as a long-range duck gun for Buckingham, who, along with being a much-beloved outdoor writer, was a famous waterfowl shot. It weighs 9 ½ pounds and has 32-inch Full and Full barrels bored especially to shoot 3-inch loads of 4 shot. Buckingham shot it for over 20 years. Then, December 1, 1948, he and friend had their licenses checked by a warden after a duck hunt. Buckingham leaned Bo-Whoop against the fender of his car, forgot about it, and drove away.* The gun was never seen again. Buckingham had another Fox made – Bo-Whoop II – but the whereabouts of the original have been unknown. Until now.
By and large, American double lovers believe this is the real thing and not some elaborate forgery. And, apparently, despite the mysterious circumstances of the gun’s disappearance, this sale is legal. It will be interesting to see how much it brings. All I know for sure is, I won’t be the one with the winning bid.
*Who here hasn’t done that? I drove off with a Model 12 leaning against my car door once, but only went about 50 feet before I realized what I had done. The gun was fine.