March 16, 2010
Bourjaily: "Bo Whoop" Sells
By Phil Bourjaily
In January we reported that author Nash Buckingham’s famous missing Super Fox shotgun, “Bo Whoop” had not only been found and authenticated, but it was scheduled to be sold at auction.
James D. Julia Auctions of Fairfield, Maine, sold Bo Whoop yesterday, March 15, for $175,000.* When I posted this story originally, a number of you wondered why the gun wasn’t returned to Buckingham’s estate when it surfaced. Here’s the story: as I mentioned previously, Nash lost Bo Whoop by leaning it against the fender of his hunting partner’s car while a game warden checked their licenses. Buckingham and friend forgot about the gun and drove off. When they realized what they had done they went back, but Bo Whoop was gone. Despite thorough searches by police and sportsmen, no one found it or responded to the ads Buckingham placed in the paper.
That was 1948. Jump ahead to the late 50s/early 60s when an unknown man offered the eventual seller’s grandfather a shotgun with a broken stock for $100. The grandfather haggled and bought the gun for fifty bucks. Despite the words “Made for Nash Buckingham” engraved on the top of the right barrel where it’s impossible to miss, Grandpa stuck the gun in his closet, where it remained for thirty years until he died in 1991. His son put in it in storage, then, in 2005 decided to have the broken stock repaired (there is no record of whether the stock broke falling off the car back in ’48 or later). The son wanted the job done right, so he took it to Jim Kelly at Darlington Gun Works in South Carolina. Kelly saw the inscription, realized this was Bo Whoop and told the owner what he had.
Kelly fixed the stock. The owner put the gun back into storage. Recently, Bo Whoop passed to the man’s son, who made the hard decision to sell the gun to pay medical expenses. And so, Bo Whoop wound up at Julia’s. I don’t know if the buyer is a collector or a gun dealer but either way, I doubt the new owner sticks it in the closet and forgets about it.
* It had been predicted to bring between $100,000 and $200,000, although some thought it might fetch more than Czar Nicholas’ Parker, which sold for $287,000 a few years ago. Both amounts are chump change compared to the world record auction price for an antique duck decoy: $856,000 in 2007 for a Red Breasted Merganser by Lothrop Holmes. Me, I’d rather have a gun than a decoy. Go figure.