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Hemingway’s Safari Rifle Targeted for Auction

March 3, 2011

Ernest Hemingway poses with a water buffalo in Africa, 1953-1954. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston.

When an old Idaho pal of Hemingway showed me the gun Mary Hemingway used on safari, I felt more than a little awe. What a piece of history to have in your hands.

Given Hemingway’s manner of death, there’s something a little macabre about owning one of Hemingway’s firearms. The gun he used to commit suicide seems to have disappeared.

His elephant gun could be yours, though. I read on Luxist that Hemingway’s double-barreled elephant gun he used on safari in 1953 is up for auction.

It’s a 16-pound gun inscribed with rhinos and tigers made in 1913 by  London’s Westley Richards, writes Jared Paul Stern.

The .577-caliber Nitro Express is the star of the show in James D. Julia Auctioneers’ Important Firearms sale set for March 14, in Fairfield, Maine. (Get ready to shell out something like 150 grand if you’re thinking of bidding.)

Hemingway “used the rifle on safari in 1953 and chronicled the experience for Look magazine,” Stern writes. “He also carried it with him aboard his fishing boat Pilar in Cuba when patrolling for German U-boats during World War II. The author later brought it with him to Key West, and the imposing firearm has been on display at the Curry Mansion Inn there for several years.”

Read more about it in the new book Hemingway’s Guns: The Sporting Arms of Ernest Hemingway. And check out a series of images of the gun on Luxist.