From back when Holland & Holland was just H. Holland …

A cased double-barreled percussion shotgun by H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON
A cased double-barreled percussion shotgun by H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON

Back in 19th century and into the 20th, most people who went into gunmaking in the UK started with an apprenticeship. But that’s not how Harris Holland, the founder of Holland & Holland, found his way into the business.

He never completed a gunmaking apprenticeship, and I doubt he could build any part of a gun. Instead, Harris Holland was a successful tobacco merchant who was also into pigeon shooting and grouse shooting. He was born in 1806, and, at first, retailing guns was his side hustle. In 1835, he started selling guns full-time and founded what became Holland & Holland.

A cased double-barreled percussion shotgun by H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON
The maker’s label for a cased double-barreled percussion shotgun by H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON

The H. Holland side-by-side percussion shotgun you see here is one of his percussion shotguns, probably a 14 gauge. It’s coming to auction this Friday, June 21st, at the Czerny’s International Auction House’s Fine Antique Arms and Militaria from around the world sale. (BTW: Before you think about driving over to see it, the sale is in Sarzana, Italy.)

I’m not quite sure when this gun was made. I would say the 1850s. But, the seller doesn’t show the gun’s serial number, and the case and label may not be original. Holland didn’t move to 98 New Bond St until 1858. So, who knows? Maybe the gun was made in the 1860s, near the very end of the percussion era.

Regardless, the gun looks like it’s in nice shape, with maybe a bit of freshening up over its lifetime. Its simplicity is what I like most about it. When it was built, I doubt it was the finest-grade shotgun Holland offered. But it’s still beautifully shaped, and it has plenty of the understated elegance that makes British shotguns so nice.

A cased double-barreled percussion shotgun by H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON
A cased double-barreled percussion shotgun by H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON

Lot 531: A cased double-barreled percussion gun by Holland: Mid-19th century provenance: England, Smoothbore, round, twisted, 18 mm cal. barrels, rib with foresight marked ‘H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON’, with several marks in the lower part; forward spring locks, with flat lock plate, both marked ‘H. HOLLAND’; checkered, half stock made of briarwood, iron mounts; brass-tipped wooden ramrod and brass cartridge extractors. Kept in an antique wooden case lined inside with red fabric with large maker’s label inside the lid, complete with large brass flask with a measuring device. Length 118 cm.*

A cased double-barreled percussion shotgun by H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON
A cased double-barreled percussion shotgun by H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON
A cased double-barreled percussion shotgun by H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON
A cased double-barreled percussion shotgun by H. HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST. LONDON

*FYI: DogsandDoubles.com is not a gun dealer. We do not sell firearms. We do not have an FFL. The guns you see listed here are from Invaluable.com, a site DogsandDoubles.com is not affiliated with in any way. DogsandDoubles.com did not receive compensation for this listing. The accuracy of this listing has not been verified by Dogs and Doubles. All information and images have been provided by the auctioneer. Buyers are responsible for verifying the physical condition and specifications of the listed items. Dogs and Doubles advises you and a qualified gunsmith to physically inspect any item shown here before purchasing.

Any statements made on DogsandDoubles.com regarding a firearm’s condition, originality, safety, value, or suitability to use are opinions only. These statements have not been verified. They are not guaranteed to be accurate or correct in any way.

Recent Posts