Arms and the Men

Rare and fine weapons from the renowned Mark and Peter Dineley Collections of Antique Arms and Armour will be offered at Bonhams Antique Arms and Armour Sale in London on Wednesday 27 November. The collection is made up of 130 items, and includes gun related accessories, edged weapons, flintlock and percussion long arms and pistols, and a fascinating group of works of art, including missal boxes.

Highlights include:

A fine and rare pair of gold-inlaid flintlock silver-mounted double-barrelled pistols, made for the Nawab of Oudh. Estimate: £35,000-45,000. The pistols were made in 1793 by John Manton, brother of Joseph Manton, who is considered one of the founders of the English gun trade. The Nawab had succeeded his father in 1775 at the age of 26, and inherited an immense fortune over which he fought bitterly with his mother and grandmother. He was famed for his generosity to the poor, a prodigious capacity for alcohol and, importantly, for making Lucknow one of the architectural marvels of India.

Flintlock pistols with gold-inlaid decoration by the Manton brothers are extremely rare. Bonhams has previously sold a pair of over-and-under pistols, by Joseph Manton, made for the Maharaja of Tanjor in 1825; and the cased pair of flintlock duelling pistols also by Joseph, made for the famous sportsman Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Thornton in 1796.

An extremely rare late 15th/early 16th century cinquedea, an Italian short-sword or dagger, in its original scabbard. Estimate: £30,000-40,000. There are examples of similar Italian short-swords in the Wallace Collection, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Musée de l'Armée in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. None of these swords, however, retain their original scabbard. The cinquedea from the Dineley collection is thought to be one of only two with originals scabbards known to exist. The other is in the Royal Armouries in Leeds, and it is believed that the two scabbards came from the same workshop.

Mark Dineley and his son Peter owned and ran Bapty & Co., a firm specialising in supplying arms and armour to the film industry, contributing to films such as A Bridge Too Far, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Stanley Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon, which won an Oscar in 1975, and Saving Private Ryan.


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