Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3369: Clark Gable Presentation Erich Klebe Over/Under Shotgun

Auction Date: June 7, 2020

Well-Documented Golden Age of Hollywood Presentation Inscribed Erich Klebe 20 Gauge Side Opening Over/Under Shotgun Made on Special Order for the “King of Hollywood” Clark Gable as a Gift to His Wife and Legendary Film Actress Carole Lombard

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $25,000 - $50,000

Well-Documented Golden Age of Hollywood Presentation Inscribed Erich Klebe 20 Gauge Side Opening Over/Under Shotgun Made on Special Order for the “King of Hollywood” Clark Gable as a Gift to His Wife and Legendary Film Actress Carole Lombard

Manufacturer: American
Model: Double Barrel
Type: Shotgun
Gauge: 20
Barrel: 28 1/2 inch vent
Finish: blue/gold
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 3559
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 162
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun
Description:

This Golden Age of Hollywood presentation shotgun is identified as being ordered by Clark Gable for his wife Carole Lombard in the accompanying 1945 dated letter from the gun’s maker, Erich Klebe, to Archie Walker: “[T]he gun in question, #11 over and under 20 gauze (sic), that you recently purchased was all hand made by me in 1940 on special order for Mr. Clark Gabel (sic), as a present for his wife, the late Carol (sic) Lombard… It is one of 14 that I made, and I was very proud of it. I had made a gun like this earlier for Mr. Gabel (sic) for his own use in 12 gauge.” The right side of the forearm has the presentation inscribed diamond inlay: “1940/To Carole/Love Clark.” This side opening over/under duck shotgun was built by gunmaker Erich Klebe and as previously stated in his accompanying letter is one of 14 that he made. Klebe was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1893 and was the gunsmith to Kaiser Wilhelm II, Paul von Hindenburg, and other high German officials of the pre-World War I period. During WWI, he was an armorer in the German Army. In 1923, he immigrated to the United States, settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and setup shop at Kennedy Sports where he gained the attention of numerous clients. Klebe retired to Fort Myers, Florida and died there in 1977. The vent rib has dual bead sights. The rib, action, break lever and trigger guard are profusely stippled. The action is equipped with a single trigger and an automatic tang safety with “S” safety marking. The underside of the receiver has the serial number “11.” The action, break lever, trigger, and trigger guard are plated in gold. The barrels are blued. The highly figured two piece forearm and pistol grip stock feature fleur-de-lis checkering accented with inlaid dots. The buttstock features a thick hard rubber grip cap accented with a simple inlaid dot motif and a vented Hawkins recoil pad that repeats the inlaid dot pattern on the spacer. Comes with a framed autograph photograph of Lombard, a framed film still of Gable and Lombard, and a frame plaque detailing the provenance of the shotgun (a gift to Gable to Lombard and later purchased from the Gable estate in 1971). An icon of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Clark Gable (1901-1960) was featured in a more than 60 motion pictures in a film career that lasted nearly 40 years with most of those years as a leading man. He is perhaps best known for his leading role as Rhett Butler in the Best Picture Oscar-winning “Gone with the Wind” (1939). The role earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination and his character’s last line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” is one of the most famous lines in American cinema history. In 1939, Gable married his third wife, actress Carole Lombard (1908-1942). They first met on set of 1932’s “No Man of Her Own” when both were married to other people, but the epic Hollywood romance did not begin until 1936. Gable, “The King of Hollywood,” and Lombard, one of the highest paid Hollywood actors noted for her off-beat roles in comedies, made the ultimate Hollywood power couple that captivated movie audiences. Both were lovers of the outdoors, spending much of their free time on their 20 acre ranch in Encino, California, tending to livestock including horses, cows and chickens or enjoying hunting trips. At the time of her tragic death in 1942, it was reported that “the longest stretch they went without seeing each other was just six days.” In the weeks after Pearl Harbor, Lombard traveled her home state of Indiana on a war bond rally that raised over $2 million in defense bonds in a single evening. Lombard was traveling with her mother and Gable’s press agent. Originally scheduled to return to Los Angeles by train, Lombard, who was anxious to return home, proposed the quicker method of flying. Her mother and the press agent were reluctant but agreed to a coin toss to determine the means of travel. Lombard won the toss, and the three boarded TWA Flight 3. The airliner never made it to California; all 22 persons on board were killed instantly when it crashed into a mountain just outside the Las Vegas, Nevada, airport. The January 17, 1942 issue of The Indianapolis Star, which reported her death, is included. The death of Lombard devastated Gable. Those who knew him stated that Gable was never the same. In August 1942, Gable joined the U.S. Army Air Forces despite protests from his studio bosses. A depressed Gable told friends he did not care if he lived. He flew five combat missions as an observer-gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortresses and earned the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross, but when word of his near death experience during a bombing run reached the ears of nervous studio executives, Gable was sent back to the U.S. The post-war years saw Gable returning to the film business and marrying two more times before his death in 1960. Stock measurements are: drop at comb 1 3/16 inches; drop at heel 2 1/2 inches; length of pull 13 3/4 inches.

Rating Definition:

Excellent. The barrels retain 98% original blue finish showing some minor wear towards the muzzles and some minor handling marks. The remaining metal surfaces retain 98% original gold plating. The wood is fine with a short hairline stress crack at the upper tang, some minor handling marks, some crazing to the varnish and crisp checkering overall. Mechanically excellent. A Erich Klebe custom shotgun built for one of Hollywood's most famous couples that will bring added dimension to any sporting collection.



Customer Product Questions

There are currently no customer product questions on this lot