At a James D. Julia firearms auction in 2010, what is widely agreed to be the most historic American shotgun in existence went on the block. The gun belonged to President Theodore Roosevelt, and the buyer was one Jason Roselius, a Texas-born attorney and lifelong history buff, whose winning $862,500 bid made it the most expensive gun ever sold at auction—by a long shot.
The 12-gauge double was custom-made for Roosevelt, complete with an inscription on the right barrel, by the A.H. Fox Gun Company in 1908. In a letter to founder Ansley Fox shortly after receiving the gift, Roosevelt wrote, “I really think it is the most beautiful gun I have ever seen.” The President looked after the Fox with meticulous care, cleaning it with a pair of his old pajamas (these too were included in the sale). Perhaps most significant are the gun’s travels, including Roosevelt’s famous 1909 African safari, a number of birds from which are on display at the Smithsonian.