There are sleepers in every gun auction. Smart buyers sit through sales and wait for them. When they comes up and the bids don’t appear, the smart buyers pounce in and get a great deal.
At Rock Island’s upcoming sale, I’m sure a few smart buyers will have their eyes on this Otto Seelig 12 gauge Over & Under. It’s definitely a sleeper, and I think it could end up being a great deal.
Otto Seelig was based in Weisbaden (a city in southwest Germany) at the end of the 19th century and up to around World War II. He is recorded as being gun dealer and gun supplier and clients included the Danish Royal Court. He probably had his guns made by other German craftsman and then sold them to customers throughout Europe.
Today, shotguns, rifles, and drillings bearing his name pop up from time to time and they very from well built, workmanlike pieces to beautifully crafted, exhibition grade firearms.
The over-and-under shotgun you see here must of been one of the finest doubles he sold. This double was “made” by his firm around World War I –maybe a bit before or just after. The Germans like their shotguns to be stout and this Seelig is very Teutonic – thick horn triggerguard, full pistol grip, the Kersten locking system. A ton of time and skill went into making it, too.
The “Made in Germany” engraving on the side of the rib and the 30″ bbls are a good signs that it was made for the US market. It was probably brought into this country by a top American gunshop like Von Lengerke & Detmold, Abercrombie & Fitch, or Sloan’s Sporting Goods.
When new, this Seelig must have been very expensive. In the 1950s it was bought used from Abercrombie & Fitch for $600. At that time, a new Winchester M21 in the “Deluxe” model cost $419 and a Webley & Scott M700 was $295. Most new cars cost around $1500.
Today, German doubles are extremely under appreciated–especially ones with all the Teutonic bells and whistles like this Seelig. Even though this over-and-under is on par with the finest shotguns ever made in America (and probably superior), most people fail to recognize the quality and skill that went into making it. If you do, put in a bid. You just may come away with a steal.
Description: This is a nice example of a relief engraved and gold inlaid Otto Seelig shotgun. The shotgun features double red bead sights on the matte solid rib marked “OTTO SEELIG, WIESBADEN” in a panel near the breech and “MADE IN GERMANY” on the left side of the rib. 2 3/4 inch chambers, chokes gauge at full/extra full, (an attached Abercrombie & Fitch tag lists the chokes at strong modified/full), with ejectors.
The left rear of the upper barrel is nitro proofed and the side feature relief floral vine engraving. The scalloped box lock action, break lever and forearm latch assembly are engraved with a relief floral vine design with twenty gold inlaid game birds and a fox on the sides and bottom. Double cross bolt, cocking indicators, tang mounted automatic safety, double triggers with hinged front trigger and horn trigger guard.
Blue barrels and casehardened remaining parts, and mounted with a nicely figured, checkered walnut two piece forearm and pistol grip stock with relief engraved grip cap, checkered flats, cheek piece, leather covered English recoil pad and gold initial oval inscribed “P”. Length of pull is 14 3/4 inches, drop at the heel 2 3/8 inches and drop at the comb 1 3/8 inches.
Condition: Excellent. The barrels retain 95% original blue finish with some thinning to a smooth plum on each side of the lower barrel at the muzzle. There are some flashes of the original case colors on the top of the engraving, otherwise the action has a dark brown appearance. The wood is also excellent with some overall scattered minor dings and handling marks. The engraving is sharp. Mechanically excellent.