Holy cr@p. This thing’s worth how much?

(A) TRULY SUPERB QUALITY, BEAUTIFULLY RELIEF GOLD INLAID AND ENGRAVED PERCUSSION SHOTGUN BY KOEZ
(A) TRULY SUPERB QUALITY, BEAUTIFULLY RELIEF GOLD INLAID AND ENGRAVED PERCUSSION SHOTGUN BY KOEZ

Sometimes I think I know a lot about old doubles. Then a gun like this one pops up, and I realize how much I need to learn.

(A) TRULY SUPERB QUALITY, BEAUTIFULLY RELIEF GOLD INLAID AND ENGRAVED PERCUSSION SHOTGUN BY KOEZ
(A) TRULY SUPERB QUALITY, BEAUTIFULLY RELIEF GOLD INLAID AND ENGRAVED PERCUSSION SHOTGUN BY KOEZ

Morphy Auctions sold it last month, and it hammered down for $225,000. With the 20% buyer’s premium, that means someone thought this gun was worth $270,000! I’ve studied the pictures and read the description over and over, and I have to say: I have no idea why a person would think that.

(A) TRULY SUPERB QUALITY, BEAUTIFULLY RELIEF GOLD INLAID AND ENGRAVED PERCUSSION SHOTGUN BY KOEZ
(A) TRULY SUPERB QUALITY, BEAUTIFULLY RELIEF GOLD INLAID AND ENGRAVED PERCUSSION SHOTGUN BY KOEZ

(A) TRULY SUPERB QUALITY, BEAUTIFULLY RELIEF GOLD INLAID AND ENGRAVED PERCUSSION SHOTGUN BY KOEZI: (ca 1850) This exceptional example of the gunmakers art has 31 – 1/8″ intricately patterned Damascus barrels with slightly raised broad game rib, gold inlaid with makers names and the addresses “Varsovie” (Warsaw) and “Faubourg de Eracovie” (suburb of Krakow), and with serial number “388”. Heer lists Jachimek I Sosnowski (circa 1850-60) in Warsaw but does not have an entry for Koezi. The rib is also flush gold inlaid with scenes of hounds, coursing stags and boar, as well as a small vignette of game birds, all in nicely detailed and engraved backgrounds. Sides of barrels are semi relief gold inlaid with mounted hunters and hounds chasing a fox on right, and a stag on left. These backgrounds are also well detailed; and gold inlaid rose bouquets accent ends of scenes. Bottoms of barrels are stamped with Belgian black powder proofs and bottom of right barrel is stamped “H. VINCENT”. An ebony ramrod with silver mushroom tip and brass tail (worm under cap) is held by two plain pipes. Patent breeches with vented platinum blow-outs are case hardened and nicely filed. Breech iron has integral fences, and is gold inlaid with mounted huntress. French grey isolated bar locks with tall serpentine round bodied hammers are relief gold inlaid and engraved en suite with barrels with hunters and hounds chasing fox on right and boar on left. Hammers are embellished with gold rose bouquets. Trigger plate, also French grey, has stylized pineapple finial matching thimble. These pieces also have gold rose bouquets. Blued trigger guard depicts more relief gold hunters with mounted pair on trigger guard about to finish off a wolf. Rifleman on trigger guard tang is taking aim at a lion. These scenes continue onto top tang of blued buttplate. A vacant silver shield is at top of grip, and rear of barrel channels in stock are protected by hallmarked gold washed silver guard. Superb lightly fiddle figured blackest ebony stock has relief acanthus carved panels at grip in place of checkering, and with triangles on sides of butt. Barrels attach to stock with captive sliding side bolt through oval steel escutcheons, lightly scroll engraved and with gold borders. Gun and accessories are housed in extravagant Brazilian rosewood case with four pin key-locking closure. Top of case is inlaid with engraved brass scrolls highlighted by tortoise shell infill with silver, ivory, and turquoise inlaid floral accents. Large central motif is topped by a pair of cherubs either side of an imperial crown. Top is outlined by brass and silver bands, and edge is of carved beaded rosewood. Interior is lined in red velvet with gold braid surround. A thin silk pillow with more gold braid accents separates top from bottom compartment. Bottom is French fitted for a multitude of exceptional quality steel and ebony accessories. These include a beautifully scroll and game scene embossed copper bodied German silver top powder flask by James Dixon with matching shot pouch having brown Morocco leather body. Other accessories include ebony handled nipple wrench, lead dipper, and cleaning rod. Steel accessories are all very finely turned, knurled and polished, and include a wad punch, mainspring vice, powder measure, oil bottle, and bullet mold. CONDITION: Excellent, showing little use, and only minor handling marks, and finish loss mostly from rubbing in case. Mechanically excellent. Case exterior shows added finish and considerable replacement of tortoise shell with red lacquer infill. 8″ piece of top surround is missing at right edge, and a 12″ crack is evident at lower right side of top. Interior cloth is very fine, somewhat faded, as would be expected. There are rubs and compressions from contact with gun and accessories. Protective pillow shows some fraying at right edge, gold braid somewhat tarnished. Accessories are generally excellent with minor staining and grime. Just a wonderful gun. MGM38. AccessoriesCase, Accessories Barrel Length31 – 1/8″ Barrel Wall Thickness(L) .030 (R) .036 Chamber ChokeNone Drop at Comb1 – 1/2″- Drop at Heel2″ FFL StatusAntique Gauge10 Bore Internal Bore Diameter(L) .745 (R) .745 Length of Pull14 – 1/8″ ManufacturerKoezi & Jachimek ModelPercussion SXS Paperwork Weight8 lbs. 0 oz. Serial Number388

Wow – what a great looking J. Purdey percussion rifle …

J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore

A couples friends of mine are crazy about muzzleloading Purdeys. Take a look at this one and you’ll see why.

James Purdey built 809 double-barrel percussion rifles.  The first was sold in 1827 and the last — 32-bore back action for eccentric Scottish collector Charles Gordon — left Purdey’s in 1896.

According to the The Early Purdeys, this percussion rifle was sold by Purdey in August of 1847. It was a 50-bore (not a 50 caliber) with 27″ barrels.The JP marks on the underside of the barrels indicate that these barrels were forged by James Purdey (the firm), instead of being outsourced to barrel maker like Charles Lancaster (CL).

When this rifle was made, James Purdey had been running his own business for 31 years. Shotguns, rifles, and pistols like this built his reputation and established his firm as one of the top gunmakers in the UK.

J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore

J. Purdey, 314 1/2 Oxford Street, London, 50-bore Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage: Hammergun with stalking safeties. Scroll engraved furniture and lockplates. Barrel Inscribed ” J.Purdey. 314 1/2, Oxford Street, London”. Price: $19,999.99

Antique: Yes
Manufacturer: 1848
Caliber: 50-bore
Metal Condition: Refreshed at sometime showing strong damascus brown patterns , Bluing worn on lower hardware.

J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore

Wood Condition: Shows a few dings and scratches
Barrels: 27 Inch
Triggers: Double Triggers
Stock: Straight Grip.
Stock Dimensions: 14 1/8″ LOP
Butt Pad: Blued Steel Plate
Weight: 6 Lbs 2 Ozs
Sights: Open Sights

 

J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore

My 5 favorite doubles, powered by Gunsinternational.com…

Boss & Co, 20 gauge over-under shotgun
Boss & Co, 20 gauge over-under shotgun

It was a good week for double-barrel shotguns. Several nice O/U and side-by-sides hit the market, including the ones listed below.

Boss, 20 ga, O/U: 26” barrels, Choked M/F, single selective trigger, ventilated top rib, 2 ¾” chamber, straight grip, checkered butt, 95% original, case color hardening, 98% blue, wood finish and checkering. Even though I’ll never be able to afford a Boss O/U, I sure like looking at them. The workmanship on them is usually outstanding.

WESTLEY RICHARDS SIDELOCK 20g. OVERALL a 95% ORIG GUN- 26″ EJECT- 98% ORIG CASE COLORS- 98% ENGRAVED- 5 Lbs. 9 Oz: Made in 1965, 26″ Ejector Dovetail Lump barrels, original 2 3/4″ chambers. 14 3/4 LOP. Even though this Westly is expensive ($25,900), it’s still a great deal at.

John Dickson & Son Round Action Trigger Plate Side by Side 12 Bore Ejector: Circa 1949, double triggers, 6 pounds 8 ounces. Best bouquet and scroll engraving, 60-70% original case color. 14 7/8″ LOP. 28 inch chopper lump barrels. Some guys really love Dickson. It you’re one of them, you should jump on this one.

FRANZ SODIA FERLACH 12ga. SxS: Chambered for 2 1/2″ & 2 3/4″ shells. Automatic safety, ejectors, double triggers, weight  6lbs. LOP is 14 1/2″, barrels are 27 1/2″. Sodia made some very nice shotguns. If you’re into high quality and low prices, I would check this one out.

12 gauge Beretta 686 O/U, straight stock
12 gauge Beretta 686 O/U, straight stock

BERETTA – 686 Onyx – RARE Factory English Stock: 1989 – Beretta – 686 Onyx – 12ga, 26-1/2″, 3″ Chambers,  Vent Rib, English Stock, LOP 14-3/4″ over the Factory pad, Drop 1-1/2″ to 2-1/4″ Weight 7 lbs. 2 oz. Condition 98+% – Clearly used very little. Includes: Three Chokes – IC / M / F and Choke Wrench. This is just a great pheasant gun.

And just for fun, check out these awesome percussion pistols:

Fantastic Purdey Dueling Pistol, 1 of a pair
Fantastic Purdey Dueling Pistol, 1 of a pair

James Purdey .51 Dueling Pistols: Pair of James Purdey Dueling pistols. Barrels have 98% of their original Damascus pattern finish. Locks, hammers and buttcaps have 100% original case colors. Stocks are excellent to near mint with crisp checkering. Trigger guards have 90% original blue. Simply awesome. Check out the pics of these guns to see just how well made are. As good as it gets.

Auction Alert: Parkers, Purdeys, Alexander Henry & more…

Constantine & Pletcher Sportsman's Auction
Fall Sportsman’s Auction

Constantine & Pletcher in Cheswick, PA, is having their fall, 2012, Sportsman’s Auction this Sat, 11/17 @ 3:30pm. They have a bunch of Parkers double barrels coming up, including an 8 gauge and a 12 gauge with 36″ bbls.

There are also a couple interesting Purdey side-by-sides, and a real nice Alexander Henry percussion shotgun. See the links below for highlights.

Lot 11: CHARLES PARKER CASED TWO-BARREL SET OF DOUBLE: CHARLES PARKER CASED TWO-BARREL SET OF DOUBLE -BARREL HAMMER SHOTGUN.

Lot 41: CHARLES PARKER DOUBLE-BARREL HAMMER SHOTGUN: CHARLES PARKER DOUBLE-BARREL HAMMER SHOTGUN.

Lot 70: PURDEY DOUBLE-BARREL BACK ACTION LOCK HAMMER: 10 gauge PURDEY DOUBLE-BARREL BACK ACTION LOCK HAMMER SHOTGUN.

Lot 74: CHARLES PARKER DOUBLE-BARREL HAMMERLESS SHOTGUN: CHARLES PARKER DOUBLE-BARREL HAMMERLESS SHOTGUN. “D” grade.

Alexander Henry Percussion Side by Side shotgun
Alexander Henry Percussion Side by Side shotgun

Lot 89: CHARLES PARKER DOUBLE-BARREL HAMMERLESS SHOTGUN: CHARLES PARKER DOUBLE-BARREL HAMMERLESS SHOTGUN. “BHE” grade.

Lot 141: ALEXANDER HENRY CASED 12 GA. DOUBLE-BARREL: ALEXANDER HENRY CASED 12 GA. DOUBLE-BARREL PERCUSSION SHOTGUN.

 

Super Auction Alert: L.C. Smith 20g 2E, Parker 20g VH, W. & C. Scott & more…

L.C. Smith – Mod. Grade 2 – 20ga. Double Barrel Shotgun – (w/28” Barrels) – w/Auto Ejectors
L.C. Smith – Mod. Grade 2 – 20ga. Double Barrel Shotgun – (w/28” Barrels) – w/Auto Ejectors

Redding Auction is having this sale on  Sunday, November 4, @ 9:00 AM (PDF of guns).  There are handful of nice looking shotguns there, including these side-by-sides, as well as percussion fowler by Woodard & Co. and a Collath drilling.

Check out these hightlights:

Super nice & rare L.C. Smith – Mod. Grade 2 – 20ga. Double Barrel Shotgun – (w/28” Barrels) – w/Auto Ejectors

Parker Bros. – Mod. VH Grade – 20ga. Double Barrel Shotgun – (w/28” Barrels)

Fox – Mod. Sterlingworth – 20ga. Double Barrel Shotgun – (w/26” Barrels) – w/Double Triggers

Woodward & Co. – Percussion Heavy Bore Fowler – w/52 ½” Octagon to Round Barrel

Remington – Mod. 1873/75 – 12ga. Double Barrel Shotgun – (w/30” Damascus Barrels)

Ithaca Gun – Flues Model Grade 3 – 12ga. Double Barrel Shotgun – (w/30” Damascus Barrels)

Charles Daly – Mod. Prussian Lindner – 12ga. Double Barrel Shotgun – (w/30” Barrels) – w/Ejectors

WC Scott – “Monte Carlo B” Grade Sidelock (Antique) 12ga. Double Barrel Shotgun

Tobin Arms – Mod. 30 – 12ga. Double Barrel Shotgun – (w/30” Barrels)

W. Collath & Sohn – 2 Barrel Set German Drilling – 16ga. x 16ga. x 3.8 x 72R – 16ga. x 16ga. x 6.5 x 58R

Midland Gun Co. of Birmingham & London – 12ga. Double Barrel Shotgun – (w/30” Barrels)

How much of this “Purdey” was made by J. Purdey?

 

16 bore "Purdey" plains rifle, bbl #2869
16 bore "Purdey" plains rifle, bbl #2869

James Purdey & Sons is just two years shy of being 200 hundred years old. In all that time, they’ve made all sorts of shotguns and rifles. Even though I’ve seen lots of them, I’m still surprised by some of the stuff I come across. Just check out this 16 bore “Purdey” percussion stocking rifle. It’s coming up at Dakota Plains Auction Company’s 6/16-6/17 auction.

Even though the barrel is engraved “J Purdey 314 1/2 Oxford Street London” and it wears the other proper marks (serial #2869), I don’t think the entire gun was made in London. To me, the stock and triggers don’t look British. Then there’s the lock and hammer. It lacks the crispness and refinement that I would expect to see on a rifle coming from 314 1/2 Oxford Street London in 1837. Compare it to this and to this to see what I mean. Also, it’s strange that the lock isn’t marked. There’s no “Purdey”on it anywhere, something I would expect to see.

16 bore "Purdey" plains rifle, bbl #2869
16 bore "Purdey" plains rifle, bbl #2869

So what is it? I think it’s an American-made, half-stock percussion plains rifle built around a 16 bore J. Purdey barrel. Of course, I could be wrong. Regardless, it does look high quality. It will be interesting to see how much someone is willing to pay for it.

Vintage double of the week: Patrick Mullin 8 gauge…

Let’s celebrate one of America’s finest gunmakers: Patrick Mullin. Don’t feel bad, most people have never heard of him. Patrick Mullin’s double barrel shotguns were some of the finest ever made on this side of the Atlantic.  This 8 gauge, 11lb 5oz., percussion shotgun with 33″ barrels is an excellent example of his work. It glows with excellence and proves that a best-quality gun doesn’t need engraving.

Patrick Mullin 8 gauge percussion shotgun
Patrick Mullin 8 gauge percussion shotgun

Patrick Mullin made guns in New York City from around 1850-1870. He was born in Donegal, Ireland,  in 1814 and trained in Dublin and London before emigrating to the US. His guns retailed for $400-$1000 — more than Purdeys made at the same time.

Patrick Mullin 8 gauge percussion shotgun
Patrick Mullin 8 gauge percussion shotgun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Mullin’s death in 1895, the New York Times published his obituary and stated “He turned out guns of his own handiwork that were unsurpassed in excellence.” This 8 gauge shows that they were right. Pics courtesy Dismal River Armory.

Patrick Mullin 8 gauge percussion shotgun
Patrick Mullin 8 gauge percussion shotgun

 

The world’s first self opener??

The 1860s were a decade of upheaval and innovation.

Tolley Self Opener
Tolley Self Opener

As the Civil War raged (1861-65) and the first transcontinental railroad crossed the US (1869), the percussion era in firearms ended. In about a decade, muzzle loading shotguns were replaced by breechloaders and paper cartridges.

These breechloaders started out as hammer guns. But by 1871,successful hammerless models by Murcott and Needham were on the scene. In 1875, Westley Richards introduced their Anson & Deeley barrel-cocking, hammerless, double barrel shotgun and revolutionized sporting guns.

During this period, thousands of firearms patents were granted in Europe, the UK, and the United States. Great Britain’s Henry Tolley filed for a handful of them. Henry was most likely the younger brother of the men behind J. & W. Tolley Gunmakers (Birmingham about 1858 to 1955) and the shotgun here incorporates one of his innovative ideas: a self-opening, Anson& Deeley boxlock shotgun.

Until I saw this gun, I thought Purdey’s Beesley-patent sidelocks were the world’s first self-opening doubles. But Purdey introduced their Beesley-patent hammerless sidelocks in 1884; this Henry Tolley was made before that, probably around 1880.

From the outside, it looks like a standard  boxlock. But when you turn the toplever, you can feel the plungers/springs on the flats of the action pop the gun open. And these plungers function this way whether or not the gun has been fired, making the gun a true self opener. Take a look and let me know what you think. Please let me know if you own, or have seen, another boxlock like this. I love to take one apart and see how it really works.

Tolley Self Opener
Tolley Self Opener
Tolley Self Opener
Tolley Self Opener

Auction alerts: lots of Lefevers, plus more…

There are a handful of decent auction coming up over the next week.

Lefever C/D grade double barrel shotgun at Amoskeag Auction Company
Lefever C/D grade double barrel shotgun at Amoskeag Auction Company

Montrose Auctions in Montrose, Georgia has a some decent doubles coming up on March 19th. There are a number of side-by-side shotguns, including Parkers, Parker Repros, Winchester M21s, a few A.H. Foxes, and some L.C. Smiths. This is where you can search the lots and bid online. This possible Parker Skeet gun jumped out at me as interesting, as did this real clean looking L.C. Smith 20 gauge OO grade.

Alderfer Auctions in Hatfield, PA, has some good double barrels in it’s March 22nd sale. There are handful of American side-by-sides, including some Parkers, some Foxes, some Bakers, and a few more. Here’s a searchable catalog where you can see everything and even bid.

Amoskeag Auction Company in Manchester, New Hampshire, has ton of Lefevers in their March 26 sales. By ton I mean more than 40. There’s a little bit of everything, from hammerless stuff to real rare, real earlier guns like Barber-Lefevers and percussion conversions. The guns are all on line at Amoskeag’s site. Unfortunately, the site is a bit of a pain in the A to use and you can’t bring up all the Lefevers at once. So to save the hassle of having to click and scroll through all 26 pages, I’ve pulled out all the Lefevers for you. Is that nice, or what?

Here they are, listed by their lot #:

6. Lefever Arms Company D-Grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

7. Lefever Arms Company F-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

48. Rare Special Order Lefever DE Grade Sidelock Ejectorgun, 16g

95. Lefever Arms Company E-grade Sidelock Double Ejectorgun, 12g

360. Lefever Arms Company F-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

512. Rare Barber and Lefever Thumb Opener Double Hammergun, 10g

514. Rare Barber and Lefever Thumb Opener Double Hammergun, 10g

515. Rare Barber and Lefever Round Body Thumb Opener Double Hammergun, 12g

564. Lefever Arms Company H-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

565. Lefever Arms Thumb-opener Sidelock Double Shotgun, 10g

588. John Nichols E-grade Thumb Opener Double Hammergun, 10g

607. Lefever Arms Company H-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 16g

615. Lefever Arms Company DS Grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 20g

616. Lefever Arms Company F-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 16g

619. Lefever Arms Company E-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 10g

620. Lefever Arms Company F-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

621. Lefever Arms Company I-grade Sidelock Double Ejectorgun, 12g

622. Lefever Arms Company G-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

679. Manton Percussion Double Converted to Breech-loader by Dangerfield and Lefever , 12g

681. Dangerfield and Lefever Breechloading Double Hammergun Conversion,  10g

682. Nichols and Lefever Thumb Opener Double Hammergun, 10g

683. Nichols and Lefever Thumb Opener Double Hammergun, 10g

684. Nichols and Lefever Thumb Opener Double Hammergun, 12g

685. Extremely Rare H. Tomes & Co Percussion Double Converted to Breechloader by Francis Dangerfield

756. Lefever Arms Company G-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

762. Lefever Arms Company DS-Grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 16g

822. Nichols and Lefever Thumb Opener Double Hammergun, 10g

847.Bar-in-wood Percussion Converted Double Barrel Shotgun by J A Ellis of Canandaigua New York, 10g

848.Bar-in-wood Percussion Converted Double Barrel Shotgun by Dangerfield & Lefever, 14g

852. Lefever Arms G Grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

867. Lefever Arms Company H-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

868. Lefever Arms Company G-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

869. LeFever Arms Company DS Grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

872. Lefever Arms Company F-grade Sidelock Double Shotgun, 12g

909. Rare Barber and Lefever Thumb Opener Percussion-converted Shotgun, 16g

%d bloggers like this: