An unusual 12-bore hammer gun by J. Purdey & Sons, no. 10914 Made for Prince Duleep Singh
Lot 79S2
An unusual 12-bore hammer gun by J. Purdey & Sons, no. 10914
Made for Prince Duleep Singh
Sold for £ 11,875 (US$ 16,905) inc. premium

Lot Details
An unusual 12-bore hammer gun by J. Purdey & Sons, no. 10914 Made for Prince Duleep Singh An unusual 12-bore hammer gun by J. Purdey & Sons, no. 10914 Made for Prince Duleep Singh
An unusual 12-bore hammer gun by J. Purdey & Sons, no. 10914 Made for Prince Duleep Singh
The rib engraved '1', Jones patent rotary-underlever with third-bite, rebounding island backlocks with dolphin hammers, percussion fences, best bouquet and foliate-scroll engraving, well-figured stock (inset repairs above and in front of right lockplate), the Whitworth Steel barrels with game-rib engraved J. Purdey & Sons, 314½ Oxford Street, London Made of Sir Joseph Whitworth's Fluid Pressed Steel
Weight 6lb. 11¼oz., 13 7/8in. stock, 30in. barrels, both approx. cyl., 2½in. chambers, London Black Powder proof (Under 1868 Act) (left barrel-thickness marginal)


  • The makers have kindly confirmed that the gun was completed in 1881 as one of a pair of guns for Prince Duleep Singh, and that it conforms to its original specifications. The gun is unusual in having a third-bite acting on the rear lump

    Prince Victor Albert Jay Duleep Singh (1866-1918)
    The eldest son of Maharajah Runjit Singh, the last ruler of the Punjab, and godson of Queen Victoria, Prince Victor was born in England and baptised in the Private Chapel at Windsor. Raised on his father's estate at Elveden in Norfolk, he was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, before attending Sandhurst under a special Cadet-ship in 1887 after the personal intervention of his godmother (Indians normally being disqualified from attending). He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 1st (Royal) Dragoons, and by 1889 he was based at Halifax, Nova Scotia as Honorary Aide-de-Camp to General Sir John Ross, then commander of forces in British North America. He remained in the army until 1898, despite having become head of the Royal House of the Punjab six years earlier. In 1894, the same year he was promoted to Captain, he married Lady Anne Coventry, the youngest daughter of the 9th Earl of Coventry and whom he had first met whilst at Cambridge. The marriage was made possible through the intervention of the Prince of Wales, and the wedding at St. Peter's Church in Eaton Square was attended by Queen Victoria herself. In the latter part of his life much of his time was spent with George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, a lifelong friend whom he had first met at Eton and who shared his love of shooting and gambling. Prince Victor was declared bankrupt in 1902, through a combination of bad investments and gambling, and spent the rest of his life in exile in Paris, even remaining throughout the First World War. He died of a heart attack, aged 51, in Monte Carlo, where he was buried.

    Prince Duleep Singh, like his father, was a prolific shot and amongst the best shots of his day alongside his brother, Prince Frederick. It is recorded that the two brothers, shooting at Elveden in the early 1890's, managed to bag 846 partridges before lunch, being forced to stop after exhausting their supply of cartridges. In Lord Carnarvon's game book for 1895, both brothers are recorded shooting grouse alongside him at Delnadamph throughout August, before returning to Carnarvon's estate, Highclere, to start shooting on September 2nd, with fifty-one days of partridge shooting over the next three months and many of the parties consisting only of Carnarvon and Duleep Singh, accompanied by Lord Ashburton. An all-time record three-day bag was recorded in late November, with a total bag of 10,807, including 5,671 pheasant, 16 partridges, 43 hares, 4 woodcock, 5,033 rabbits, and 40 various. The guns were Lord Carnarvon, both Victor and Frederick Duleep Singh, Earl de Grey, Lord Ashburton and Harry Chaplin, who was replaced by J. Rutherford on the final day. This gun would appear to have been purchased for the Prince when he was fifteen years old, and as such may well have been one of Prince Victor's earliest guns.

    The family estate of Elveden, having played host to many shooting parties and some of the best shots of the day, was sold to the 1st Earl of Iveagh in 1894 after the death of Prince Victor's father. It remains in the possession of the Guinness family to this day

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the footnote should begin 'The eldest son of Mahrahjah Duleep Singh...', not as catalogued
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Lot symbols
S2 Section 2 firearm

Section 2 lots require a valid British Shotgun certificate, RFD (Registered Firearms Dealer) Licence or import licence.

  1. Patrick Hawes
    Specialist - Sporting Guns
    Montpelier Street
    London, United Kingdom SW7 1HH
    Work +44 20 7393 3815
    FaxFax: +44 20 7393 3932
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