An Extremely Rare Cased Pair Of 36-Bore Flintlock Duelling Pistols
Lot 466
An Extremely Rare Cased Pair Of 36-Bore Flintlock Duelling Pistols
Sold for £60,000 (US$ 100,849) inc. premium
Auction Details
An Extremely Rare Cased Pair Of 36-Bore Flintlock Duelling Pistols
Lot Details
An Extremely Rare Cased Pair Of 36-Bore Flintlock Duelling Pistols
By James Purdey, Princes Street, Leicester Square, London, No. 794 For 1825
With rebrowned twist heavy octagonal barrels each signed in full in capital letters on the top flat and with blued fore-sight and case-hardened recessed patent breech with two platinum lines and platinum-lined touch-hole, scroll engraved case-hardened tangs each incorporating the back-sight, signed detented border engraved case-hardened serial numbered locks engraved with scrollwork, blued steel-springs, rollers, engraved safety-catches, pan-covers with small teat, spoon-shaped rainproof pans, and scroll engraved pierced cocks, finely figured half-stocks, chequered butts, finely engraved blued iron mounts, case-hardened trigger-plates each with stylised pineapple finial, vacant silver escutcheons, fore-end caps and barrel-bolt escutcheons, original brass-mounted ramrods each with powder-measure, and much original finish: in lined and fitted mahogany case, probably original, with accessories including earlier two-way powder-flask covered in red leather, the lid with 314½ Oxford Street trade label, the exterior with flush-fitting brass carrying handle and circular escutcheon, London proof marks, the barrels forged by Charles Lancaster
23.8 cm. barrels


  • Provenance:
    T.D.S. (Tom) Purdey (1897-1957), Chairman and Managing Director of James Purdey and Sons Ltd., then President, 1955-57. Keith Neal and Tom Purdey were close friends and shared the distinction of serving three times as Master of the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers, the former in 1953, 1961 and 1973, the latter in 1928, 1940 and 1951. Tom Purdey was a musician, an artist and a keen trout fisherman
    W. Keith Neal Collection, C79
    Bonhams Knightsbridge, Fine Antique Firearms from the W. Keith Neal Collection, 10 November 2005, lot 115

    W. Keith Neal, Collecting Duelling Pistols, 1968, p.11, pl. 13
    W. Keith Neal and D.H.L. Back, British Gunmakers Their Trade Cards, Cases and Equipment, 1980, pl. 452
    L. Patrick Unsworth, The Early Purdeys, 1996, pp. 58-59 and 130

    The Purdey records show these pistols as having been sold second-hand on 28 April 1838 to a Mr. E. Baillie. This would explain the 314½ Oxford Street trade label in the lid. They are one of only three unconverted pairs of this type so far recorded (all cased) defined by Unsworth as 'heavy-barrelled smooth-bored duelling pistols' (of which a total of only four pairs are known to have survived, the fourth pair having been converted to percussion). One of the other unconverted pairs, formerly in the Clay P. Bedford Collection, are serial numbered 764-5 and are fully described by Unsworth, op.cit, pp. 59-60. They were exhibited in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1971 (cat. no. 69, pp. 78-9). The other unconverted pair are not serial numbered
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