A beautiful Purdey double rifle. But what do you do with it?

Rare, Very Fine Cased Engraved J. Purdey 28 Bore Back Action Rotary Underlever Hammer Double Rifle with Accessories
Rare, Very Fine Cased Engraved J. Purdey 28 Bore Back Action Rotary Underlever Hammer Double Rifle with Accessories

There’s a list of things I like to see when I look at doubles. This James Purdey double rifle checks all my boxes: It’s vintage; it’s gorgeous; it’s by a famous maker, it’s top quality; it’s in great orginal condition; and it’s cased and comes with most, if not all, its original accessories.

Rare, Very Fine Cased Engraved J. Purdey 28 Bore Back Action Rotary Underlever Hammer Double Rifle with Accessories
Rare, Very Fine Cased Engraved J. Purdey 28 Bore Back Action Rotary Underlever Hammer Double Rifle with Accessories

Unfortunately, other than stare at it, I have no idea what I would do with it. Why? Because of its only flaw: It’s a 28-bore rifle. This means it has rifled barrels, but shoots a 28g shell (probably 2 1/2″) loaded with a lead slug. While this load would be fine for whitetails, getting the ammo would be a PITA.

Rare, Very Fine Cased Engraved J. Purdey 28 Bore Back Action Rotary Underlever Hammer Double Rifle with Accessories
Rare, Very Fine Cased Engraved J. Purdey 28 Bore Back Action Rotary Underlever Hammer Double Rifle with Accessories

Even if you could get it or wanted to do through the trouble or loading up your own, getting the rifle to regulate and shoot right could be just a difficult. A .450 BPE like this is more practical and, in a most ways, just plain better.

Rare, Very Fine Cased Engraved J. Purdey 28 Bore Back Action Rotary Underlever Hammer Double Rifle with Accessories
Rare, Very Fine Cased Engraved J. Purdey 28 Bore Back Action Rotary Underlever Hammer Double Rifle with Accessories

Lot 535: Rare, Very Fine Cased Engraved J. Purdey 28 Bore Back Action Rotary Underlever Hammer Double Rifle with Accessories: The makers have kindly confirmed that this rifle was completed on October 2nd 1867 for Viscount Downe of the 2nd Lite Guards, as a center fire double hammer rifle in 28 bore with 30 inch Damascus barrels. Only 327 hammer double rifles were manufactured by Purdey in 1880-1900 per page 200 of “Purdey: Gun & Rifle Makers, The Definitive History” by Dallas. A rather similarly laid out pinfire double rifle is pictured in plate 36. The rifle has the matching serial number on the bottom of the barrels, the forearm hardware, and the lever. The barrel rib has a bead blade front sight and four leaf rear sight (three folding leaves) with platinum sight lines and is signed “J. PURDEY 314 1/2 OXFORD STREET LONDON” on top ahead of the rear sight. The barrel flats have standard London black powder proof marks, and the water table has London view marks. The non-rebounding floating back action locks are signed “PURDEY” in small letters, and “PATENT” is marked on the upper tang. The checkered buttplate is marked “CHARGE/3 DMS No. 6 POWDER” at the heel. The action, locks, and furniture have fine English scrollwork engraving. The action has carved percussion fences, the pistol grip trigger guard acts as the rotary underlever, and the locks each have blued sliding safety catches. The well figured stock and forearm are checkered, and the length of pull is 14 3/8 inches. The initial escutcheon on the bottom of the buttstock is inscribed with a coronet and monogram. It comes in a factory oak case with a trade label with hand marked loading information and a second handwritten label indicating where powder could be purchased in Calcutta and Bombay indicating this rifle was likely taken to India at some point. The case contains a variety of equipment for loading and maintenance.

Condition: Very fine with 90% brown finish and distinct Damascus twist patterns along the barrel group which has some soft spots and small patches of minor surface oxidation, 75% plus original case colors with particularly vibrant colors in the protected areas, some mottled patina, and crisp engraving and marking; remnants of original bright blue finish on the heel of the buttplate and gray and brown patina on the balance, and general minor marks and scratches throughout. The wood is also very fine and has crisp checkering, some minor edge wear (including some small chips on the forearm), light pressure marks and scratches, and smooth oiled finish. Mechanically excellent. The case and accessories are fine with mild storage wear.

Perfection. An awesome 12g by James Purdey & Sons …

12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920

If there were a Hall of Fame for sporting guns, this SxS would be in it.

12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920

It’s a 12 gauge James Purdey & Sons built in 1920 and upgraded with “Extra Finish” on the action and fences (or “detonating”, in Purdey lingo). The oak & leather case is lined in red velvet and it looks like all the original accessories are present.

12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920

It’s all original, pretty unmessed with, and one of finest doubles I’ve seen.

12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920v
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons SxS shotgun with extra finish, 1920

Purdeys coming up at Poulin Auctions on 10/20 …

20 GAUGE J PURDEY EXTRA FINISH SIDELOCK SXS SHOTGUN, Poulinauctions.com, 10/20
20 GAUGE J PURDEY EXTRA FINISH SIDELOCK SXS SHOTGUN, Poulinauctions.com, 10/20

Here’s something new I’m trying: gun videos.

This first one focuses on 4 Purdeys coming up at www.PoulinAuctions.com this Saturday, 10/20. There’s a nice, antique 20 gauge shotgun, a 12 gauge game gun, a 12 gauge Pigeon shotgun, and up last, a rare .360 Express underlever double rifle.

J. PURDEY & SONS SIDELOCK SXS .360 EXPRESS DOUBLE RIFLE, coming up at Poulin Auctions on 10/20/18.
J. PURDEY & SONS SIDELOCK SXS .360 EXPRESS DOUBLE RIFLE, coming up at Poulin Auctions on 10/20/18.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

This week’s five good guns: June 24…

 

JAMES PURDEY & SON BEST EXTRA FINISH SXS 12 GAUGE SIDELOCKJAMES PURDEY & SON BEST EXTRA FINISH SXS 12 GAUGE SIDELOCK
JAMES PURDEY & SON BEST EXTRA FINISH SXS 12 GAUGE SIDELOCK

JAMES PURDEY & SON BEST EXTRA FINISH SXS 12 GAUGE SIDELOCKALLISON HUNT ENGRAVED 28″ BARRELS CHOKED .015″ AND .022″. 2 3/4″ CHAMBERS. DOUBLE TRIGGER EJECTORS FIELD FOREARM ENGLISH GRIP EXCELLENT CONDITION 6LBS 13 OZ X 2 1/4″ X 1 9/16″ X 15 1/4″. Price: $55,000

Holland & Holland — Royal Sidelock Double Rifle — .500-450 3 1/4″ Nitro Express: 26″ SxS chopper-lump barrels with fine silver bead ramp front sight and folding ivory twilight bead, smooth swamped rib, sling eye, raised matted quarter rib with one platinum-lined standing express sight. 14 1/2″ pull from checkered, articulated front trigger to Silvers red rubber recoil pad. 1/2″ cast-off. Figured English walnut stocks with lever-release splinter forend, steel trapdoor pistol grip cap, classic point-pattern checkering, teardrops, beaded pancake cheekpiece, classic comb, vacant gold oval and rear sling swivel. Classic Holland & Holland Royal scroll

Holland & Holland --- Royal Sidelock Double Rifle --- .500-450 3 1/4" Nitro Express
Holland & Holland — Royal Sidelock Double Rifle — .500-450 3 1/4″ Nitro Express

engraved receiver with a concealed third fastener, bushed firing pins with retaining setscrews, silent extractors, manual top tang safety with SAFE inlaid in gold, triggerguard tang extending to grip cap and top tang extending over comb. Back-action sidelocks with gold-line cocking indicators and intercepting sears. London proofed for 70 grains cordite and 480-grain bullets. Weight: 10lbs, 5 1/2oz.  Built 1906 as No.2 of a pair with all components so numbered in gold. 98% proper barrel re-blue and 40% original casehardening colors. Barrels tight on the face, and with excellent bores. Stock heads up tight to action. In maker’s leather-trimmed canvas covered trunk case with snap caps, oil bottle, cleaning accessories and trade label. Price: $54,975.

L.C. Smith Crown Grade 20 Gauge – FACTORY 99% CASE COLOR, 30” VENT RIB, 1 OF A KIND!
L.C. Smith Crown Grade 20 Gauge – FACTORY 99% CASE COLOR, 30” VENT RIB, 1 OF A KIND!

L.C. Smith Crown Grade 20 Gauge – FACTORY 99% CASE COLOR, 30” VENT RIB, 1 OF A KIND!: General Specs: L.C. Smith, year 1926, 20 Gauge, 6lbs 11oz, Side by Side
Serial Number: FWE89799. The Crown Grade Elsie; one of the finest, most elegant American doubles ever produced…a “MADE TO ORDER” shotgun, with only 800 made in all gauges, and only 145 made in 20 gauge.  If you consider loss and damage, there are likely less than 125 Crown Grade 20’s left on the planet.  What a RARE, ONE-OF-A-KIND CROWN GRADE we have here in this 1926 vintage Elsie, snFWE89799.  What is rare…really?  How about 1 of 29 20ga. Crown Grades with 30” barrels?  How about 1 of 32 with vent rib barrels?  How about 1 of 3 with every factory option, ie. Beavertail forend, ejectors, Hunter One trigger, factory pad (we replaced the hard, mushroomed pad with the same, original Hawkins pad it came with), vent rib?  How about 99% factory case color, 98% blue, exceptional wood with the original factory finish and checkering? The Crown Grade engraving is some of the most handsome found on any American double gun. I have seen many Crown Grade Elsie’s and all have a version of the same engraving. THIS GUN HAS UNIQUE, SPECIAL ORDER ENGRAVING with waterfowl flying over a marsh in the ovals. It is definitively factory original and shown in Col. Brophy’s book “LC Smith Shotguns” on page 96. HOW ABOUT 1 OF 1, THE ONLY L.C. CROWN GRADE 20GA. OF ITS KIND. I think we can all agree this is the epitome of a truly rare, high condition, highly desirable vintage American double. This gun is in excellent condition, with mirror bores, excellent checkering and wood finish, tight as new on breech face and hinge pin with lever right of center, and perfect screws. This gun has desirable 30″ barrels, M/F chokes, double beads, and great shooting dimensions. Nicely balanced, weighing a mere 6lbs. 11oz on a featherweight frame with a reinforced forend lug, it would be a great clays or upland gun. A true collectible, investment quality firearm that will continue to rise in value as you enjoy its use. All parts are original to the gun. People often ask me “What is the best investment in a firearm?” I always tell them the same thing…low production guns in smaller gauges, in high grades, with tons of original factory original condition…and with features sought after by the modern day shooter/collector. Today’s shooter/collectors want long barrels. So this is one of those guns that have it all; rarity, condition, and desirability, including outstanding wood figure and overall aesthetics. WHAT A GREAT FIND! DON’T LET THIS ONE GET AWAY! Price: $24,950 

Piotti King 20 GA – Sidelock Ejector – Rich Color Case – Rolled Trigger Guard – Turkish Walnut – IC/Mod – 27” – 14 3/8”

Piotti King 20 GA - Sidelock Ejector - Rich Color Case - Rolled Trigger Guard - Turkish Walnut - IC/Mod - 27”
Piotti King 20 GA – Sidelock Ejector – Rich Color Case – Rolled Trigger Guard – Turkish Walnut – IC/Mod – 27”

X 1 9/16” X 2 3/8” – 6 lbs 6 oz: Rich Color Case – Rolled Trigger Guard – Turkish Walnut – IC/Mod – 27” – 14 3/8” X 1 9/16” X 2 3/8” – 6 lbs 6 ozs – Nizzoli Leather Case (Accessories) – Ser. #8601 – Checkered Butt – Fleur de Lis Engraving by Granetti – A True Italian MASTERPIECE in Straight Grip Field Configuration – This gun has been all over Texas and out west on quail and grouse hunts – it is a craftsman’s wonder in the hands.  Treat yourself to the best! Price: $19,900 

Factory Parker GHE Pigeon Gun SXS — 32″ full/full, no safety with options: Beavertail forend — single trigger — ejectors — Straight stock — Pad — 1 1/2 Frame — solid rib — twin beads — Pigeon dimensions with 1 7/8 drop at heel — Beautiful wood — 40/50% fading case color — 95% blue — Gun has spent its entire career in Pennsylvania — Very nice gun! 14 1/2″  x  1 1/2″ x 1 7/8″ Price: $5500

Factory Parker GHE Pigeon Gun SXS --- 32" full/full, no safety with options:
Factory Parker GHE Pigeon Gun SXS — 32″ full/full, no safety with options:

Wow – a super original, super nice 12g, 2″, Purdeys SxS…

PURDEY BEST PRE WAR SXS 2" LIGHTWEIGHT GUME GUN 12 GAUGE
PURDEY BEST PRE WAR SXS 2″ LIGHTWEIGHT GUME GUN 12 GAUGE

The one thing collector’s want most is original condition. Here’s an aweseome side-by-side Purdey shotguns with plenty of it. Just check out the color-case hardening on the action and the crispness of the wood. Great engraving, too.

Since its founding in 1814, Purdey has built 30,000+ firearms. I doubt they’ve built many like this, though. It’s a lightweight (5lb, 8oz) 12 gauge made to shoot 2″ shells. Of course, it’s built on Purdey’s famous Beesley action and appear to be in very nice original condition.

Twelve gauges with 2″ chambers were introduced by British makers in the 1930s and marketed as “featherweight” models.

PURDEY BEST PRE WAR SXS 2" LIGHTWEIGHT GUME GUN 12 GAUGE
PURDEY BEST PRE WAR SXS 2″ LIGHTWEIGHT GUME GUN 12 GAUGE

Author Vic Venters, popular with sportsmen who hunted red grouse over pointers in the UK, not many were made. I can’t imagine Purdey built them in any significant numbers. And of the ones they made, how many are still in nearly-new original condition?

PURDEY BEST PRE WAR SXS 2″ LIGHTWEIGHT GUME GUN 12 GAUGE: 28″ BARREL WITH SWAMPED RIB 004 AND 016 2″ CHAMBERS DOUBLE TRIGGER EJECTORS SPLINTER FOREARM PISTOL GRIP CHECKERED BUTT EXCELLENT ORIGINAL CONDITION WITH MOTOR CASE 5LBS 8 OZ X 2 1/2″ X 1 7/16″ X 15 1/4″. Price: $59,500

PURDEY BEST PRE WAR SXS 2" LIGHTWEIGHT GUME GUN 12 GAUGE
PURDEY BEST PRE WAR SXS 2″ LIGHTWEIGHT GUME GUN 12 GAUGE
PURDEY BEST PRE WAR SXS 2" LIGHTWEIGHT GUME GUN 12 GAUGE
PURDEY BEST PRE WAR SXS 2″ LIGHTWEIGHT GUME GUN 12 GAUGE

Amazing! What a pair of SxS Purdeys…

James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”

According to its name, a “Best” gun sounds like it should be the finest shotgun a gunmaker builds. But that’s not always the case. With some makers, there’s a grade above “Bests” — “Better Bests”, I guess.

Holland & Holland calls these Modele de Luxes. At James Purdey & Sons, they’re known as guns with “Extra finish“, and the pair of 12 gauge Purdey sidelocks you see here are just that.

Overall, guns with Extra Finish are built to the same level as the maker’s standard Best-quality guns (or maybe a bit better, in the case of this pair). But as you can see, their engraving is taken to the next level (here’s a standard Purdey).

James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”

These two may have been engraved by Ken Hunt (aka “The Godfather of Gun Engraving”), a British craftsman who worked at Purdey’s and learned his trade from Harry Kell. Along with the gorgeous engraving, the guns are beautifully made all around. Check out the metal-to-metal fit and the way the forend iron fits onto the action. Then look at those perfect drop points on the stock.

Does all this make them worth $125,000? Perhaps. Even with twice that much money, you would have a hard time duplicating the quality of these Purdeys today. Personally, I don’t think you could do it.

PURDEY BEST EXTRA FINISH SXS PAIR 12 GAUGE: THESE APPEAR TO BE KEN HUNT ENGRAVED #266XX BOTH GUNS ARE IDENTICAL AND HAVE BEEN USED ON ONE DRIVEN HUNT IN THE LATE 50S THESE CAME FROM ORIGINAL OWNER 28″ SELF OPENERS 008 AND 022 2 3/4 DOUBLE TRIGGER EJECTORS SPLINTER FOREARM ENGLISH GRIP CHECKERED BUTT MAKERS MOTOR CASE NEW CONDITION 6LBS 11 OZ X 2 1/8″ X 1 7/16″ X 14 1/4″. Price: $125,000

James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”

Feeling lucky, punk? A 12g James Purdey & Sons SXS @ auction…

J. Purdey & Sons Best Quality, 12 ga. side by side shotgun, 30" Whitworth steel barrels, Hammerless, Ejectors, Trunk Case, England
J. Purdey & Sons Best Quality, 12 ga. side by side shotgun, 30″ Whitworth steel barrels, Hammerless, Ejectors, Trunk Case, England

The internet is an incredible tool — especially if you’re interested in old guns. I’ve spent hundred of hours online learning about all sorts of SxSs and OUs. I’ve also done a fair amount of buying there — either through straight sales or online auctions.

Over the course of doing this, I’ve learned one lesson over and over: Buying online is always a gamble. Occasionally, the odds are my favor (or I think they are). But most of the time, the odds of getting a good deal are against me. From what I can see, that’s the case with the 12g Purdey SxS you see here.

This Purdey could be an awesome gun. Purdey built some of their finest doubles from the 1890s to WW1. But while this example looks good and original in the pictures, what you can’t see could end up being bad. And while there are a lot of words in the description, there’s still a lot the auctioneer isn’t saying.

J. Purdey & Sons Best Quality, 12 ga. side by side shotgun, 30" Whitworth steel barrels, Hammerless, Ejectors, Trunk Case, England
J. Purdey & Sons Best Quality, 12 ga. side by side shotgun, 30″ Whitworth steel barrels, Hammerless, Ejectors, Trunk Case, England

Even after studying everything and even reaching out to the seller for more info, here are some questions I still have:

-Is the gun tight and on the face?

-Are the ejectors in time?

-Are there any dents, dings, or bulges in the barrels? Any signs of repairs?

-Are there any cracks, splits, or repairs in the wood?

On top of these questions, the barrel measurements provided are useless. It’s impossible to tell if the gun is in proof from them, and there’s no way of knowing the barrels’ minimum wall measurements.

So is this Purdey worth bidding on? It’s up to you. Do you feel lucky?

J. Purdey & Sons Best Quality, 12 ga. side by side shotgun, 30" Whitworth steel barrels, Hammerless, Ejectors, Trunk Case, England
J. Purdey & Sons Best Quality, 12 ga. side by side shotgun, 30″ Whitworth steel barrels, Hammerless, Ejectors, Trunk Case, England

Lot #13: J. Purdey & Sons Best Quality, 12 ga. side by side shotgun, 30″ Whitworth steel barrels, Hammerless, Ejectors, Trunk Case, England:  Serial #14952, mfg. 1894 in London, England. Antique. Very good condition. Wow! A drop-dead GORGEOUS example of the finest shotgun ever produced – a “Best Quality” Purdey in superb condition. 30″ Whitworth steel barrels have bright shiny bores – choked FULL/FULL. Tight lock-up with top lever dead center. Bluing on barrels is 90% with some thinness on the carry area above the forearm center. Beautifully scrolled lockplates with maker’s name on both sides. 20% faint case color remaining on lockplates. Ejectors work well! Double triggers. All matching iron. Splinter forearm. LOP is 14 1/2″ over original red pad which is a bit squished as expected. The dark European walnut is to die for with black swirls and figure. Straight grip – slender and dainty wrist. Fine line checkering is superb – shows just a bit of smoothness from hunting chores. This firearm has remained in a Montana family – having started its life in 1894 as a pair (#1’s whereabouts is unknown) with an Irish noble who hunted/shot driven birds with it, then it came over the “pond” to America where it was hunted with as well and then passed to the great-grandson. Lovingly cared for, it is a superb piece with some hunting marks on the wood as expected. Totally exceptional double! Underside of barrel has “Crown P” and “Crown V” proofs. Barrels are serialed to receiver. DAH 2 3/8″. DAC 1 3/8″. Left cast. Barrel measurements: Barrel wall – .0555 and .0460, outside diameter – .821 and .827, inside diameter – .710 and .735 and mid bore – .733 and .735. Included with this Purdey is a factory history from the London factory (an email – everything in the email is stated below). It states this fine shotgun was built for Mr. G.E. Pollock in August of 1894 and was number two of a pair (“2” is on the rear of barrel rib , on watertable and on the top lever). The present configuration is confirmed by the factory records as “30” Whitworth steel barrels, 2 3/4″ chambers, full choke both barrels”. Also noted is: “3rd grip to action, stock length is 14 9/16″ mid and weight of gun is 7 lb. 1/2 oz.” David Maynard of the factory staff added: “I would suggest an insurance value for this gun of 15,000 pounds ($19,623.75 in U.S. dollars).” Includes the family’s leather/silver appointed/green crushed velvet interior/key trunk case (good condition) that was purchased for this shotgun prior to W.W. I. A breathtaking example of a steel-barreled Best Quality Purdey. Today to have this gun made you would be in the six figures. Antique. Can ship right to your door. Gunrunner West item. NOTE: Extra photos available including shots of the barrel underside and watertable.

J. Purdey & Sons Best Quality, 12 ga. side by side shotgun, 30" Whitworth steel barrels, Hammerless, Ejectors, Trunk Case, England
J. Purdey & Sons Best Quality, 12 ga. side by side shotgun, 30″ Whitworth steel barrels, Hammerless, Ejectors, Trunk Case, England

Wow – what a Purdey hammergun. But $99,500?

Alfonso XIII of Spain, pigeon shooter & owner of many Purdeys
Alfonso XIII of Spain, pigeon shooter & owner of many Purdeys

Provenance is tricky, especially when it comes to old guns. Some provenances can boost a shotgun’s value many times over, while other barely register at all with buyers.

Fo example: Would you pay $60,000 more for a shotgun made for King Alfonso XIII.

King who?

Yeah – that’s the problem. King Alfonso XIII was Spain’s monarch from 1886-1931. While he was a big deal in his day, I don’t know anyone who cares about him now. So it’s hard to say if a gun connected to him is worth a $60,000 premium.

That’s just what’s going on with the James Purdey & Sons 12g hammergun you see here. This side-by-side came up for sale in Christie’s, December 2014 sale:

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN

A VERY RARE BARRÉ ENGRAVED 12-BORE TOPLEVER LIVE PIGEON HAMMERGUN. J. PURDEY & SONS, AUDLEY HOUSE, SOUTH AUDLEY STREET, LONDON, SERIAL NO. 19395.

The hammer price plus premium: $35,370. It looks to me like whoever has the gun now connected it to King Alfonso before or after he bought it. It certainly is a spectacular shotgun, and it appears to be in excellent condition. Regardless, though, the big question is: Is its connection to a King worth sixty large?

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN32″ 029 AND 032 1 1/4 OZ PROOF DOUBLE TRIGGER EXTRACTORS SPLINTER FOREARM ENGLISH GRIP CHECKERED BUTT MAKERS CASE EXCELLENT CONDITION 7LBS 9 0Z X 2″ X 1 1/2″. Price: $99,500

More info from the seller:
“Purdey Hammer gun sn. 19395 came from a collection of Spanish Royal Firearms, from the household of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. The makers have confirmed that this hammergun was completed in April 1909 for the King of Spain, Alfonso XIII. The records are specific that Barre was the engraver. The gun is covered in finely chiseled low relief with foliate scrollwork illustrating monsters and masks upon a blackened background. Included is a gold inlaid escutcheon with the Spanish Royal Coat of Arms.

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN

It is believed that the King used this gun in winning the Tiro-Pichon De Madrid in May 1921. Our provenance includes a picture of the King aside the trophy given for his win and holding what appears to be this gun. Purdey awarded the winner of the Tiro-Pichon De Madrid a prize gun that was to duplicate this piece, however Barre did not engrave the later gun as he was dead by 1921.”

BTW: A similar Purdey was also in Christie’s 12/2014 sale: #22210. You can read more about it in this post: The king of Spain’s Purdey pigeon shotgun brings $55,000…

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN

Here are couple other Purdeys attributed to Barre:

SPECTACULAR HIGH RELIEF 12 GAUGE BARRE ENGRAVED J. PURDEY & SONS DELUXE SIDE LOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN. SN 18218. Price realized: $50,600

James Purdey & Sons Side by Side Shotgun (Gift from King Edward VII to the Shah) Barre Engraved – 12 ga.

Peculiar Purdeys: Two of their odder SxS shotguns…

James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence
James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence

Since James Purdey & Sons adopted the Beesley hammerless action in 1880, the company has done a remarkable job of building pretty much the same sidelock, side-by-side shotguns, over and over again. While modest updates and changes have been made, the guns have pretty much stayed the same. To see what I mean, compare this one from 1883 to this one 2006.

But every now and then Purdey did something unique. These are two side-by-side are a couple of those oddballs.

James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence
James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence

This first one looks pretty standard– until you see the hand-detachable locks. As far as I know, the first shotguns with easy-to-remove locks were droplock Westley Richards, introduced in 1897. But these were boxlocks. Holland & Holland was the first company to build sidelocks with hand-detachable locks, introduced in 1908.

(BTW: If you go here, you see how to remove Holland-style hand detachable locks.)

James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence
James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence

Whoever ordered this Purdey must have admired Holland’s idea and asked for it in his gun. Why? No idea. And even though I’m sure the request left the guys at the factory scratching their heads, they went about doing what the customer wanted (and could be billed more money for).

Unlike H&H-style actions, the locks on Purdey’s are not held together by a single pin running plate to plate. Instead, they’re attached to top, fronts of the action by separate screws. So to make the locks hand detachable, you have to build quick-release levers for of them. You can see them on either side of this shotgun. Not too very looking, but they do the job.

James Purdey & Sons Extra Finish SxS shotgun with W.W. Greener-style crossbolt
James Purdey & Sons Extra Finish SxS shotgun with W.W. Greener-style crossbolt

The next Purdey is one of the oddest hammerless Purdey’s I’ve seen, and the only one I’ve come across with a W.W. Greener-style crossbolt.

W.W. Greener introduced his rounded crossbolt in 1880 as part of his patent for the Facile Princips action. It’s not the most elegant way to secure a pair of bbls to an action, and with double underbites, it’s largely superfluous. But I guess no one told the guy who ordered this Purdey.

More pics of that great 10 gauge James Purdey hammergun…

James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun
James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun

There are a lot of Purdeys on the market today. Some are worked over, some are worn out  and some are overpriced. A lot are of them are all three, and that’s why so many of these guns have been looking for buyers for so long. But every now and then a real legit Purdey pops up. When it does, it usually sells right away.

This is one of these nicest vintage Purdeys I’ve seen in a while. It has condition and it was reasonably price. That’s why it sold in fewer than 12 hours.

James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun
James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun

From what I can tell, this gun was made in the late 1860s, early 1870s. Westley Richards invented the toplever in the 1862 and James Purdey patented their underbolt in 1863. The Scott spindle used to connect the two was patented in 1865. The gun you see here uses all three, so it has to be post 1865.

James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun
James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun

This gun also has a keyed forend, a feature from the percussion era that Purdey stop using when they switched to the Anson-patent forend release (introduced in 1872), and bar-action locks, which Purdey was just switching to as it developed a more modern look for its guns. One thing it’s missing is drop-points. This is pretty common on earlier Purdey. The sideclips are interesting. You don’t see side clips on a hammergun, and this has to be one of the first doubles Purdey used them on.

James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun
James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun

James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun: Rare light weight (8 pound) hammer game gun. Outstanding all original condition with very nice wood and good amount of case cloring remaining. Excellent 31 inch fine damascus barrels.Rare side clips and top lever. Very nice engraving and checkering.Proper 2 5/8 inch chambers with open chokes. Throws outstanding patterns and feels like a 12 bore. Excellent shootable dimensions and 14.5 inch LOP. Very little lifetime use and overall excellent condition.

James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun
James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun

This week’s good guns: Powered by Gunsinternational.com…

James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun
James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun

James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer GunRare light weight (8 pound) hammer game gun. Outstanding all original condition with very nice wood and good amount of case cloring remaining. Excellent 31 inch fine damascus barrels.Rare side clips and top lever. Very nice engraving and checkering.Proper 2&5/8 inch chambers with open chokes. Throws outstanding patterns and feels like a 12 bore. Excellent shootable dimensions and 14.5 inch LOP. Very little lifetime use and overall excellent condition. Price: $9500

Beretta – S05 – 12 ga Over Under Shotgun: Price: $7,500

Ejectors: Yes

Beretta - S05 - 12 ga Over Under Shotgun
Beretta – S05 – 12 ga Over Under Shotgun

Trigger: Single
Grip: Pistol Grip
Forend: Checkered
Lop: 14 1/2 ”
Pad thickness: 0.75 ”
Type of butt: Decelerator Pad
Drop comb: 1 1/4 ”
Drop heel: 2 3/16 ”
Cast amount: 1/8 ”
Cast: Off
Weight: 7 lbs, 10 oz
Barrel info:
Gauge: 12 ga
Chamber: 2 3/4 ”
Length: 28 ”
Chokes: 2 Choke Tubes
Rib type: Ventilated

Winchester Mod 21 SxS 16ga: Price: $4,899.99

Winchester Mod 21 SxS 16ga
Winchester Mod 21 SxS 16ga

Chambers: 2 3/4″
Metal Condition: Some Bluing Loss
Wood Condition: Well Used in Good Condition
Bore Condition: Nice and Shiny
Barrels: 26
Triggers: Single Selective
Stock: Checkered Pistol Grip
Stock Dimensions:
14 1/8″ LOP
Fore End: Checkered Splinter
Butt Pad: Checkered Butt Plate
Weight: 6 Lbs 12 Oz.
Sights: Front Bead
Chokes: IC and MOD

Connecticut Shotgun RBL 28 Ga Side-by-Side ShotgunPrice: $4,499.99
Chambers: 2 3/4″

Connecticut Shotgun RBL 28 Ga Side-by-Side Shotgun
Connecticut Shotgun RBL 28 Ga Side-by-Side Shotgun

Metal Condition: Excellent
Wood Condition: Excellent
Bore Condition: Excellent
Barrels: 30″ with ejectors
Triggers: Selectable
Stock: Fine Walnut with diamond checkering
Stock Dimensions:
14 3/4″ LOP, 1 5/8″ DAC, 2 3/8
Fore End: Fine Walnut with diamond checkering
Butt Pad: Factory butt plate
Weight: 5 lbs. 14 3/4
Chokes: Full / Mod.

Charles Smith Boxlock Ejector Side-by-SideCharles Smith Classic English Double 12 Bore SxS. Fine engraving, double triggers, Prince of Whales stock. Very low serial number. Price: $2999.99

Charles Smith Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side
Charles Smith Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side

Chambers: 2 1/2″
Ejectors: Yes
Condition: Very Good
Metal Condition: Good
Wood Condition: Very Good
Bore Condition: Excellent
Barrels: 28
Action: BLE
Triggers: Double
Gauge: 12
Stock: Straight
Stock Comb: 1 9/16
Stock Heel: 2
Stock Cast: 1/4″ Cast Off
Fore End: Splinter
LOP: 14 1/4
Rib: Plain
Weight: 6 lbs 12 oz
Sights: Brass Bead
Chokes: Fixed
Choke Left: .028
Choke Right: .005

This week’s good guns: Powered by Gunsinternational.com…

JAMES PURDEY & SONS EJECTOR SIDELOCK 12 GA. SELF-OPENING DOUBLE SHOTGUN, CIRCA 1907
JAMES PURDEY & SONS EJECTOR SIDELOCK 12 GA. SELF-OPENING DOUBLE SHOTGUN, CIRCA 1907

JAMES PURDEY & SONS EJECTOR SIDELOCK 12 GA. SELF-OPENING DOUBLE SHOTGUN, CIRCA 1907: 30” barrels with 2 ½” chambers choked improved modified in both barrels. Automatic ejectors and double triggers. Center rib engraved “J. PURDEY & SONS. AUDLEY HOUSE. SOUTH AUDLEY STREET. LONDON. MADE OF SIR JOSEPH WHITWORTH’S FLUID PRESSED STEEL”. No “3” engraved on the both the rib and the lever. Lock plates signed with maker’s name. Checkered walnut straight grip stock and checkered splinter forend. 14 ½” pull over checkered butt. 2”, 1 ½” drop. .Best Quality rose bouquet and scroll engraving. Matching serial numbers in the 17,xxx range. All original except the barrel finish which has been expertly custom blued. Locks and frame with much of the original case hardening color and the lever and the trigger guard with most of the original blue. Stock and forend with the original finish. Forend with small sliver missing near the release button on the left side. Perfect working order and excellent bores. Price: $16,500

A.H. Fox SPE Skeet Grade 12 Gauge Side by Side
A.H. Fox SPE Skeet Grade 12 Gauge Side by Side

A.H. Fox SPE Skeet Grade 12 Gauge Side by SideAll original condition, all specs can be viewed on letter from Savage Historian, John Callahan. Price: $6,000

Model: SPE Skeet Grade
Serial Number: 34970
Chambers: 2 3/4
Ejectors: Automatic
Condition: Original
Triggers: Single selectable
Gauge: 12
Fore End: Beavertail
Manufacture Date: May 27, 1937

Winchester Model 21 Field Grade 20 Gauge 1935 Production
Winchester Model 21 Field Grade 20 Gauge 1935 Production

Winchester Model 21 Field Grade 20 Gauge 1935 ProductionThis Winchester was produced in 1935. The shotgun’s serial number is 5294. The barrels are 26 inches. The barrels are solid rib choked Full and Modified. It has the single selective trigger. The trigger works correctly. The safety is the automatic engaged safety. The ejectors are manual ejectors. The recoil pad is the red Winchester pad. The barrels are bright with no damage or dents. The lockup is tight. The barrels have the solid rib. This gun has seen field use and handling. There is blue loss on the underbelly of the receiver due to carrying. This is a great light handling 21 in a great gauge. This gun can give the owner many years of great service. This is one of the original condition early model 21’s that has not been “restored”. The unusual feature is the single selective trigger without the automatic ejectors on this shotgun. This feature is not commonly seen. This shotgun’s overall condition would rate a 90% condition. The overall approximate weight is 6 pounds. The length of pull is 13 and 1/2 inches. This shotgun has had only two owners. Price: $5750

Ithaca Grade 4 16 Gauge - NICE ORIGINAL GUN, 80% CASE COLOR
Ithaca Grade 4 16 Gauge – NICE ORIGINAL GUN, 80% CASE COLOR

Ithaca Grade 4 16 Gauge – NICE ORIGINAL GUN, 80% CASE COLOR:#376165, Made in 1924, 16 Gauge, 6lbs 7oz, Side by Side. This gun, sn376165 built in 1924, is no exception, balanced dead on the hinge pin and weighing 6lbs. 7oz. it is a delight in hand.  Retaining 80% factory case color, gorgeous engraving, checkering, and wood, this gun is a work of art at a very affordable price.  It has great barrels with plenty of wall thickness, mirror bores, choked perfect for upland game, and with nice shooting dimensions it has everything a shooter/collector might want. Price: $4,950.00

Barrel Length: 26″
Chokes: .013/.028  LM/F
Bores: mirror
Bore Diameter: .670/.668
Wall Thickness: .029/.028
% Blue: 100%
Chambers: 2 3/4″
Ribs: tight
Sights: single
Action: tight, way right of center
Ejectors or Extractors: extractors
Case Color: 80% fading
Screws: excellent
Engraving: clear, sharp
Trigger Type: double,  crisp
Trigger Guard Color: 93%
Type: capped pistol grip/splinter forend
LOP: 14″
LOP To End Of Wood: 13 5/8″
DAH: 2 5/8″
DAC: 1 11/16″
Cast: 1/8″ off
Checkering Condition: very good
Butt Treatment: factory plate

C. Hellis & Sons Boxlock SxS 12ga/28" IC/Full
C. Hellis & Sons Boxlock SxS 12ga/28″ IC/Full

C. Hellis & Sons Boxlock SxS 12ga/28″ IC/Full: Case colored boxlock with double triggers, straight grip stock, auto-ejectors, splinter forend, and checkered butt. Lop measures 14″ with 1 1/4oz proof and 2 3/4″ chambers. Condition is very good overall with strong color case and excellent barrel blue. This is a very nice gun overall.  Price: $3,995

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

Original or redone? So that 12 gauge James Purdey SxS is….

FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.

So yesterday I asked everyone what they thought of this 12g Purdey SxS: Is it all original, or has it been redone. Most people thought the finish was original, and to them I say – you’re pretty much right.

This Purdey is mostly original. The color-case hardening and blueing have been there since the gun’s birth. The stock, though, has been lightly refinished — probably a long time ago. Julia’s had this shotgun in their Fall 2014 sale, and it sold for $17,250 – a very fair price. I wished I had had the $$ to buy it.

It was beautiful gun, built by many of Purdey’s most famous employees. It really hasn’t been messed with, either. Check out the minimum wall thickenss: left -.034, right -.032. That’s a lot of metal, and a clear sign that no one has been polishing out those tubes season after season (like the Brits love to do).

FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.

FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE: SN 14855. (1893) Cal. 12 ga. 2-1/2″ Chambers. 30″ Chopper lump bbls are engraved “James Purdey & Sons, Audley House, South Audley Street. London.” and “Made of Sir Joseph Whitworth’s Fluid Pressed Steel” on narrow concave rib. Bbl flats are stamped with London black powder proofs. Bottoms of bbls are stamped with SNs and bottom of left bbl with initials “GA” (George Aston, head barrel maker). Tube nos. 13448 and 13449 are on loop. Beesley patent self-opening action features automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), bushed strikers, engraved arrow head tumbler end cocking indicators, and double triggers. Action is engraved in typical Purdey house style rose and scroll. Engraving is exceptionally fine and well detailed, most likely by J. Lucas, head engraver. “J. Purdey & Sons” is on each lockplate, and “Purdey’s Patent” is on bottom of action. Scroll engraved trigger guard has SN at grip. Well streaked and lightly figured European walnut straight grip buttstock measures 14-7/8″ over Silver type pad. Classic drop points and point pattern checkering are at grip, and a silver oval with remnants of a monogram is on toe line. Matching splinter ejector forend with

FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.

Anson release is marked with unknown actioner’s initials “HH” on iron. Bore diameter: left-.731, right -.731. Bore restrictions: left -.010 (IC), right -.000 (cyl). Minimum wall thickness: left -.034, right -.032. Drop at heel: 2-1/4″, drop at comb: 1-5/16″. Weight: 7 lbs. 2 oz. LOP: 14-7/8″. Original makers oak and leather case with brass corners and central circular medallion, is lined in scarlet cloth. A small paper Purdey label marked “Late of 314-1/2 Oxford Street”, along with an instruction label, and the orig charge card for this gun, are in lid. Case contains 2-pc rosewood and brass cleaning rod, Purdey marked broken case extractor, and cleaning implements, as well as three case strap retainers.

FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.

CONDITION: Excellent. Bbls retain nearly all of what appears to be their orig blue, with some slight silvering and thinning from normal hand wear. Action and lockplates retain nearly all of what appears to be their vibrant orig case hardening color, silvering on beads and fences. Engraving is very sharp and clear. Top lever and trigger guard retain most of their orig bright blue, silvering at thumbpiece and grip. Stocks retain nearly all of an old oil refinish, grain open. Sharp edges are slightly rounded, checkering flattened and gummed. Pad appears to be a later replacement. There are incipient cracks behind both lockplates and top tang. Bores are excellent with a hint of frosting toward breech ends of both bbls. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are slightly out of time. Case leather is good with considerable staining and chipping. Straps are missing. Strap retainers detached (three are in case). Handle has repairs. Interior cloth is very fine with some compressions and one tear from contact with action fence. Labels are fine, slightly soiled. Some partitions are slightly loose. Cleaning rod is fine. A superb high condition antique Purdey in need of some detailing. Sold For: $17,250

Original or redone? Another 12g Purdey SxS..

FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.

Ready for another test? A couple weeks ago I posted this pair of Purdeys for everyone to assess. Now lets see what you think about this Purdey. What do you say – original or redone?

This Purdey is from 1893. The engraving on it is fantastic. It was probably cut by James Lucas. From 1855 to 1915, Lucas was Purdey’s head engraver, and he helped to develop the fine, tight scroll work that became the “rose & scroll” engraving pattern best-quality British doubles are know for.

FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.
FINE ANTIQUE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 14855.

12g Purdey SxS: Original or redone? The answer is….

12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
Pair of 12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?

Drumroll……Redone.

These Purdeys came up at Julia’s a sale or two ago. Here’s the condition report on them:

CONDITION: Excellent, as completely refinished and refurbished. Bbls retain essentially all of a good London quality re-black, engraving slightly softened. Actions retain nearly all of a re-color over considerable scattered light marks and frosting, engraving somewhat washed. Buttstocks retain essentially all of a fine hand rubbed oil finish with some light marks and scratches as furnished by Master Craftsman, David Trevallion. Forend wood is original, checkering re-cut. Bores are excellent. Actions are tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are in time. Screw slots show some use. Case leather is fine with numerous marks and dents. Straps and handle are good. Renewed interior cloth is excellent, as is label. Accessories are fine.

12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?

A 12g Purdey SxS: Original or redone? You decide…

12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
Pair of 12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?

When it comes to collecting, original condition is king. The more of it a shotgun has, the more valuable it will be.

So what do you think about this 12g sidelock by James Purdey & Sons? It’s one of a pair of Purdey made in 1912, and it may or may not be all original. Let me know what you think, and why you think it. I’ll tell you the answer tomorrow. Good luck.

12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?
12g James Purdey & Sons SxS Double Barrel Shotguns, Original or redone?

On Ebay.com now: a genuine James Purdey & Sons catalog…

 genuine James Purdey & Sons Ltd. Catalog, probably from the '60s.
genuine James Purdey & Sons Ltd. Catalog, probably from the ’60s.
 genuine James Purdey & Sons Ltd. Catalog, probably from the '60s.
genuine James Purdey & Sons Ltd. Catalog, probably from the ’60s.

Here’s a late alert for something that great to have if you’re a serious Purdey collector: It’s a genuine James Purdey & Sons Ltd. Catalog, probably from the ’60s. It’s on Ebay.com now, and the auction ends today @ 12:12PM EST.

Old catalogs like this are great reference tools. I like them because they give you the chance to see just how the maker promoted and sold his guns – which features they called to mind, the terms used to describe certain models, etc. These old catalogs also let step into the mind of a buyer from 50-60 years ago to see the options they were presented with.

Good luck bidding.

Evolution before you eyes: three early James Purdey shotguns…

JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
Case label for JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244

The 1860s were tens years of change for James Purdey & Sons. The impetus was the breechloader, and at end of the decade, Purdey would step into the modern era of shotguns with the two patents which would changed sporting guns forever.

Breechloaders were introduced to the UK at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and after several years of refinements by makers like Joseph Lang, these revolutionary doubles started to catch on with shooters throughout the UK.

Slowly, London’s famous gunmakers followed this trend. According to Donald Dallas’s book Purdey: The Definitive History, the James Purdey sold their first breechloader in 1858. The following year, 68 of the 205 firearms the firm made were breechloaders (the rest were muzzloaders). By 1862, this ration had flipped. Of the 193 guns Purdey made, just 51 were muzzleloaders.

The three shotguns you see here were made in 1866, just months after Purdey made their first centerfire, breechloading shotgun (#699s, delivered in late 1865). In these guns, you can see just how quickly Purdey’s shotguns evolved, and how some shooters were reluctant to embrace all the changes going on in the shooting world.

JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244, made in 1866
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244, made in 1866

 

12 gauge James Purdey hammer shotgun # 7270 circa 1866, pic courtesy Gun-Vault.com
12 gauge James Purdey hammer shotgun # 7270 circa 1866, pic courtesy Gun-Vault.com
12 gauge James Purdey hammer shotgun # 7270 circa 1866, pic courtesy Gun-Vault.com
12 gauge James Purdey hammer shotgun # 7270 circa 1866, pic courtesy Gun-Vault.com
12 gauge James Purdey hammer shotgun # 7270 circa 1866, pic courtesy Gun-Vault.com
12 gauge James Purdey hammer shotgun # 7270 circa 1866, pic courtesy Gun-Vault.com
12 gauge James Purdey #7351, double barrel shotgun, 1866
12 gauge James Purdey #7351, double barrel shotgun, 1866
12 gauge James Purdey #7351, double barrel shotgun
12 gauge James Purdey #7351, double barrel shotgun
12 gauge James Purdey #7351, double barrel shotgun, 1866
12 gauge James Purdey #7351, double barrel shotgun, 1866

Auction alert: a real early 12g Purdey Centerfire shotgun…

JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244

Here’s an interesting double: it’s an early James Purdey 12 gauge Centerfire shotgun, and one of the first center fire shotguns made by Purdey. It’s coming up this Saturday, March 8, 2014 at Poulin Antiques & Auctions. The sales starts @ 10:00 AM.

Back in the 1860s, centerfires were revolutionary new ideas. A London gumaker named G.H. Daw introduced the first successful model to the British market in 1861. Easy to load and operate, it caught the interest of shooters right away. By the mid 1860s, other gunmakers were turning out their own versions of this design.

James Purdey & Sons made their first center fire shotgun in 1865. The gun you see here was made in 1866 – back when the company was still just James Purdey. Guns like this were the basis for every other shotgun Purdey made. Even though this one is 186 years old, it’s nitro proofed, on the face, and 100% shootable today. Check out the original oak case, too. It’s serial numbered to the gun, and information about the correct loads for the gun are handwritten on the maker’s label. Very cool.

JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244

Lot 1051: JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN: Cal. 12 Ga., 2 3/4”. S# 7244. Bbls. 30” of fine damascus steel. Recent London reproof for Nitro with 70mm chamber length markings. Cyl. & cyl. bores. Top rib marked “J. Purdey 314 1/2 Oxford Street. London.” Rnd. Body action with Jones underlever & back-action locks marked “Purdey”. Top tang between hammers marked “PATENT”. Converted rebounding, pinfire-style hammers with retractable firing pins (Purdey-patent #424 of 1865). 75% Coverage of very fine foliate scroll engraving (consignor states probably by J. Lucas). Key fastened splinter forearm of fully checkered walnut with engraved steel tip & escutcheons. Straight hand stock of checkered fancy English walnut with nameplate on toe line. LOP: 14 1/8” over original steel shotgun butt. DAC: 1 1/2”. DAH: 2 1/2”. Neutral cast. Weight: 7lbs. Minimum wall thickness L .032 & R. .026.

JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244

CONDITION: 90% fine, London-quality restored browned on bbls. finish showing nice damascus pattern. Locks & action have traces of remaining case colors in protected areas with balance fading to silvery gray. Trigger guard has area of original blue under lever with balance fading to gray having spots of light pitting on tang. Stock & forearm show wear with nearly smooth checkering having numerous heavy handling marks & scratches. Forearm has chip at right side of bbl. channel. Stock has semi circular added wood repair right side of trigger guard tang. Bright bores.

UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: Original oak maker’s case with correct Purdey label featuring handwritten notes regarding proper loads. Serial-numbered to gun. Red felt fitted interior. Case in fair to overall good condition. ESTIMATE: $3500-5500.

JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244
JAMES PURDEY UNDERLEVER SxS CENTERFIRE SHOTGUN #7244

 

Auction alert: a 10 gauge James Purdey & Sons double barrel shotgun…

10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns
10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns

Ten gauge Purdey shotguns are not very common, so when one pops up, it catches my attention. The one you see here is at Alex Cooper Auctioneers in Towson, MD, and it goes off today, September 28 @ 1:00 PM EST.

Interestingly, this one is nitro-proofed for 1 1/2 oz loads. That’s the same amount of lead than a 12g, 3 1/2″ shell throws. But a ten gauge does it better and throw better patterns because of its larger bore size. It’s also built to handle the recoil, so it will do less damage to you, and itself, when you pull the trigger.

10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns
10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns

James Purdey & Sons 10 gauge Double Barrel Sidelock SxS Shotgun: London, 1905, made on order of J. H. Smith, Tuxedo Park, NY; blued double barrel, 31 in. L.; engraved case-hardened frame; checkered burl walnut stock and forearm; with original case and several accessories (including barrel rods, cleaning tools, and loading tools). Estimate: $20,000 – $25,000

10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns
10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns
%d bloggers like this: