November 09, 2012
Old Betsy Lives and Will Be Auctioned
By David E. Petzal
Back in 2006, I ran a post about Warren Page’s legendary 7mm Mashburn Magnum, Old Betsy Number One, which was, in its heyday, the most famous hunting rifle in the world. Page took it all over the globe and collected over 450 head of big game with it. In the post, I revealed that I had received a letter and photos from a gentleman who claimed to have bought Old Betsy and remodeled her. But the rifle he had, while undoubtedly a 1950s Mashburn, was not Old Betsy.
Old Betsy Number One is actually alive, and untouched, and unremodeled. I’ve seen photos of her serial number, which matches Page’s records, and of the presentation shield on her stock, and there’s no doubt about this one. It, and 18 other of Page’s rifles, were kept intact as a group by a collector who bought them after Page’s death in 1977.
Now they are to be auctioned, and the bidding begins on November 20. Not only is Old Betsy Number One on the block, but her backup is as well, a somewhat fancier version, called Old Betsy Number Two. There is also Page’s dangerous game rifle, a much-worn .375 Weatherby built by Weatherby on a Remington 721 action. Page told me he burned out three barrels on the gun, which is an inconceivable amount of shooting.
Old Betsy got Page his blue bear, and his bongo, which were historic trophies at the time, and was largely responsible for his Weatherby Big Game Trophy and election as the first living American to the Hunting Hall of Fame. Page’s rifles have been places and seen things that we can only dream of, and were I not so far down the road myself, I would be in the bidding.
To get a look at the guns, go to Heritage Auctions. The company lists a huge variety of items, so at the top, in the blank space, type in Warren Page Rifles, and hit Search. There they will be. And this time, they’re for real.