A cased pair of percussion conversion duelling pistols by James Purdey
built in 1823, the earliest known pair of Purdey duelling pistols
Numbered 492, each with 9 1/2 inch octagonal, brown twist barrel in .50 caliber smoothbore. Top flats signed J. Purdey Princess Leceister Square London. Platinum-banded patent breeches with platinum maker's marks Purdey/London and engraved platinum blow-out plugs. Scroll-engraved and sighted tangs. Detented locks with finely scroll-engraved panels and signed Purdey. Non-adjustable set triggers. Blued and scroll-engraved triggerguards with pineapple finials. Walnut half-stocks with checkered, bag-shaped butts, horn fore-end caps, silver wedge escutcheons and vacant silver wrist escutcheons. Brass-tipped rosewood ramrods. Together with associated green baize-lined walnut case, the lid with folding brass handle. Interior of lid with replaced trade label J. Purdey/Gun Manufacturer,/Princess Street/Leceister Square/From J. Mantons. Accessories include cleaning/loading rod, horn patchbox, T-shaped combination nipple wrench/cone pick, bullet mold and two tools. Also included is a letter of Waranty and Provenance from L. Patrick Unsworth, author of the book The Early Purdeys as well as a copy of his book in which he states that The earliest known existing pair of Purdey's duelling pistols are both numbered 492... The book includes a description of the guns and they are illustrated in Plates 17 and 18.
Condition: Very good. Guns retain much old rebrowned finish showing some minor patches of spotting/light pitting. Breeches and locks with dark grey patina. Sound wood showing scattered small marks. Case lid showing numerous small marks and one hairline crack;interior of lid with small area of missing baize and glued remains from previous label, the Purdey label possibly a facsimile. Lining showing wear, staining and some small tears.