Here’s a jaw dropper. This stunning black-powder double rifle was by John Dickson & Son for eccentric collector Charles Gordon.
28in. black powder only fine damascus barrels with dolls-head extension, raised matted rib with open sights and two folding leaf sights with white metal inlaid sight lines and marked for 100, 200 and 300 yards, bead fore-sight, tubes engraved ‘JOHN DICKSON & SON. 63 PRINCES STREET. EDINBURGH’, Jones patent rotary-underlever, finely carved percussion fences, non-rebounding back-action locks with front bolted hammers, fine border and acanthus scroll engraving, retaining much original colour-hardening and finish, 14 5/8in. well-figured pistolgrip stock with cheekpiece, floral engraved sling eyes, engraved and colour-hardened steel pistolgrip-cap, chequered steel buttplate with ribbon and scroll engraving retaining much original blued finish, fore-end with large grip-catch release lever, weight 9lb. 5oz., in its brass-mounted oak case, fitted internally in the French style with green baize lining, with some original accessories and with its original leather outer cover with later brass name plaque engraved ‘A MATHESON’
Provenance: The makers have kindly confirmed this to be a ‘Gordon Gun’ and that it was completed for him on 5th February 1886 as a ‘.500 hammer double C.F. Express rifle, underlever’.
Of the 229 recorded guns and rifles ordered from John Dickson & Son by Charles Gordon, just 25 were centrefire hammer rifles.
In the 1908 auction of Charles Gordon’s Collection by Dowell’s of George Street, just one centrefire rifle by Dickson’s was offered for sale, Lot 319. Described simply as ‘Breech-loading rifle, under lever action, by John Dickson, Edinburgh, and waterproof cover’. It sold for 21/-.
It is possible that this is when the rifle came into the possession of the current Vendor’s family.