Here’s one of the Kings of shotguns: A 12g Boss Sidelock Over-Under. It’s in fantastic original condition, and it’s coming up at Julia’s March 2015 sale.
The Boss O/U was created in 1909, and the innovations it introduced are still in use today. If you shoot a stacked-barelled Beretta, Perazzi, or Fabbri, your gun descended from the Boss O/U.
The Boss O/U has always been an especially difficult shotguns to make, and a single gun like this with two sets of barrels and a single forend would have been even harder to build. Only the best of the best workmen at the company would have worked on it. The gun would have been incredibly expensive to buy, too. Having a new one like it made today would probably cost you close to $200,000.
EXCEPTIONAL NEAR NEW BOSS OVER-UNDER SIDELOCK GAME GUN WITH EXTRA BARRELS AND CASE: SN 8981. (ca 1952) Cal. 12 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 27″ Demi-bloc bbls, fitted with matted, solid, raised ribs, mounted with red Bradley beads, are engraved “Boss & Co Albemarle Street Piccadilly London. Made in England” on top lefts. Open choked set has inlaid gold star on top left. Right sides of top bbls and bbl flats are stamped with London nitro proofs for 2-3/4″ chambers. SNs are on bottoms of bottom bbls. Typical case hardened Boss O-U sidelock action nicely sculpted to incorporate Boss ejector system, features non-automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), gold band tumbler end cocking indicators, bushed strikers, and Boss’s exceptional single trigger. Action and lockplates are engraved with Boss house style small scroll and rose bouquets. “Boss & Co” is on each lockplate, and “Patent 3307 1909″ is on both sides of action, referring to Boss’s patents for the O-U system. “Patent 3308 1909″ referring to ejectors is on bottom of forend iron. “Boss Patent No. 11278″ is on trigger plate referring to single trigger patent. Small bow single beaded trigger guard is also scroll engraved, and has SN at grip. Very fine, nicely marbled, and fiddle figured European walnut round knob pistol grip buttstock measures 14-1/2″ over brown leather pad. Classic point pattern checkering with mullered borders is at grip; well shaped drop points are at rear of lockplates, and a large gold “P” is inlet on toe line. Unusually shaped one piece forend flares to semi-beavertail, and is fitted with Anson release. Open choked (gold star) bbls: Bore diameter: top -.729, bottom -.729. Bore restrictions: top -.008 (IC), bottom -.024 (Mod). Minimum wall thickness: top -.027, bottom -.024. Drop at heel: 3-1/4″, drop at comb: 1-5/16″. Weight: 6 lbs 10 oz. LOP: 14-1/2″. Heavily choked bbls: Bore diameter: top -.731, bottom -.731. Bore restrictions: top -.026 (Mod), bottom -.036 (Full). Minimum wall thickness: top -.022, bottom -.022. Drop at heel: 3-1/4″, drop at comb: 1-5/16″. Weight: 6 lbs 10 oz. LOP: 14-1/2″. Original makers tan leather two-gun motor case is embossed on top, and is accompanied by tan canvas outer cover with leather trim, with medallion embossed “G.P.” Interior is lined in burgundy cloth and has small Boss Albemarle Street label in lid. Case contains 2-pc walnut and brass cleaning rod, assorted cleaning implements, two pairs of snap caps, round oil bottle, dusting brush, small leather wallet containing a pair of spare strikers, three beech handled turnscrews, and a small envelope marked “Safety Wire” (removed to make safety non-automatic).
CONDITION: Exceptionally fine, very close to new. Bbls have only a hint of silvering on sharp edges of ribs, and a few exceptionally light marks. Damascening on breech ends and bottoms is excellent, with only some slight assembly marks. Action and lockplates have only a hint of silvering on beads. Blue of top lever, trigger guard, and forend iron have only the slightest of edge wear. Fire blue of hinge pin covers, screw heads, and lock pin ends is essentially untouched. Safety is only slightly silvered. Stocks retain essentially all of their hand rubbed oil finish, grain open, with one or two light handling marks. Leather of pad is slightly darkened. Bores are excellent, appear essentially unfired. Mechanically crisp. Case leather is excellent, with only some slight rubs, as protected by orig outer cover, which shows some scuffs and marks, but is generally excellent. Interior cloth is excellent, with some light marks from contact with gun. Label is excellent, as are accessories. A good handling, versatile Boss O/U in an extraordinary state of preservation. Estimate: ($60,000-$90,000)
The famous engraver Henry Albert Kell, aka Harry Kell, is one of the most famous individuals to emerge from England’s sporting-arms trade. Born in 1880, he was apprenticed to the trade in 1894. By 1900, his training was complete and he was engraving for his dad’s firm – Sanders & Kell.
Between the wars, Harry would inherit this business and build his own successful company. He would also establish a aesthetic style that would make him one of the most famous firearms engravers to have ever lived.
The 20 gauge E.J. Churchill Premier side-by-side you see here was probably engraved in Kell’s shop, and maybe even by Kell’s own hand. I say “probably” because Kell didn’t sign the work. This was typical for the time. What isn’t typical is the quality of the work, and like an actual signature, that’s what says “Harry Kell” to people who are in the know.
Over the years, those people have pushed the prices of “Kell” guns higher and higher. That means this nice little 20 gauge Churchill is in fantastic shape – and also a good place to sink some money for the future.
LOT 2168: 20 BORE E. J. CHURCHILL EXTRA FINISH (BY KELL) PREMIER PINLESS SIDELOCK LIGHT GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE. SN 4814. (ca 1932) Cal. 20 bore. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 25″ Chopper lump bbls with Churchill rib, gold inlaid “XXV”, are engraved “E. J. Churchill. (Gunmakers). Ltd” and “Orange St. Gunworks. Leicester Square. London.” on tops. There are 1-1/2″ pyramids of nicely cut scroll at breech ends. Damascened bbl flats are stamped with London nitro proofs for 2-1/2″ chambers, and “Choke”. SN is engraved on the bottom of each bbl. Splinter is engraved “Made in England”. Small, nicely scaled, pinless sidelock action is stocked to the fences, and features non-automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), and Miller single selective trigger (original double triggers and interceptors are in envelope in case).
Sidelocks have grooved tumbler end cocking indicators. Action and lockplates are engraved with exceptionally well cut shaded scroll outlining vignettes of pheasants; a pair (cock and hen) flushing on bottom of action; trio (two cocks and hen) swooping off hillside on left lockplate; and another trio in meadow setting on right. “E. J. Churchill” is in scroll terminated riband on each lockplate. Blued top lever is gold inlaid with nicely rendered portrait of pheasant looking back over his shoulder. Engraving work most likely was done by Harry Kell, world renown engraver to the London trade.
Blued trigger plate is gold inlaid “The – Premier – Quality”. Double beaded trigger guard is engraved with matching scroll with SN in riband at grip. Finely figured and nicely marbled European walnut straight grip buttstock measures 14-1/2″ over ribbed horn buttplate, and features nicely shaped drop points, point pattern checkering with mullered borders, and a gold oval on toe line engraved with initials “G. P.” Matching splinter ejector forend has Anson release. Bore diameter: left-.613, right -.613. Bore restrictions: left -.010 (light mod), right -.004 (IC). Wall thickness: left -.028, right -.029. Drop at heel: 2-7/16″, drop at comb: 1-3/8″. Weight: 5 lbs. 6 oz. LOP: 14-1/2″. Original makers toe under (V. C.) case has stitched leather corners and inset leather rectangle gold embossed “Grant Pierce”. Front right of top is embossed “20g PHEASANT GUN”. Interior is lined in burgundy baize with celluloid Churchill labels tacked in. Case contains 2-pc cocobolo and brass cleaning rod with mop, Turks head and jag; E. J. Churchill marked round oil bottle; and snap caps. Along with envelope containing orig double triggers and interceptors, are an orange “A & F” hang tag with particulars of this gun, and orig key with tag marked “Grant Pierce”.
CONDITION: Excellent, original as found. Bbls retain 95% what appears to be orig black, with a few marks, thinning slightly at normal carry point. Action retains 30% orig case hardening color, balance silver to gray (color appears to have never been vivid). Lockplates retain 70 – 80% of their orig color. Trigger guard and top lever retain most of their orig charcoal blue. Stocks retain nearly all of their orig hand rubbed oil finish showing minor marks, as expected from normal use, along with a few light abrasions. There is a 1/2″ incipient check at rear of right lockplate, which also shows some minor chipping. Checkering shows little wear. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are in time. Trigger works. Case is very fine. Exterior leather has some minor discoloration, and some knocks and bumps. Orig handle is good. Interior cloth is fine with some rubs, marks, and repairs. Accessories are very fine. Snap caps show some scratches and marks. “A & F” tag is very fine with some creases and fading. An exceptional, dynamic, golden age game gun with some distinctive, well thought out, touches. Just a lovely gun. Estimate: $18,000-23,000
If you’re into nice shotguns, James D. Julia’s firearms auctions are a big deal. Held in the spring and fall, these sales bring some of the world’s finest shotguns and rifles to market.
This J.P Sauer Deluxe side-by-side is one of those great shotguns. Doubles like this rarely hit the open market. If you’re a gun nut like I am, just seeing something this exceptional is a thrill. Here are all the details on it from the auctioneerL
Lot 2206: AN EXCEPTIONAL DEEP RELIEF CARVED AND GOLD INLAID J. P. SAUER DELUXE GAME GUN: SN 122896. Cal. 12 ga. This wonderful top of the line Sauer gun has 29-3/4″ chopper lump bbls with raised, concave, matted rib, engraved “J. P. Sauer & Son” in milled out portion. Tops of bbls are engraved with Krupp steel information and 3-ring logos. Bbl flats are stamped with German imperial proofs, caveman logos, and are engraved “Prussia”. There are 2-1/2″ triangles of exquisitely detailed and beautifully carved, high relief, large, scrolled, open, shaded acanthus at breech ends; muzzles with more scroll and geometric bands. Scallop-backed boxlock action features non-automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), side clips, hidden crossbolt third fasteners, and double triggers. It is engraved with the same classic scroll as found on bbls, except acanthus leaves are more pronounced.
This exceptional scroll frames wonderfully detailed vignettes of feathered game; with relief gold inlaid trio of partridge on left; pair of flying geese over marsh on right; and family group of black grouse, one cock, lyre tail spread, standing on rock; with two onlooking hens. Blued top lever has pierced acanthus carved thumbpiece. Trigger guard, with matching scroll, has gold inlaid retriever on bow, and SN at grip. Dark, nicely streaked, and full fiddle figured European walnut steel capped pistol grip buttstock measures 14-1/4″ over matching scroll engraved skeleton steel buttplate. A gold shield is on toe line engraved “G. P.” Side panels are nicely carved with relief scrolled acanthus. Checkering is of standard point pattern. Matching splinter ejector forend has Anson release.
Bore diameter: left-.727, right -.722. Bore restrictions: left -.035 (Full), right -.026 (Mod). Wall thickness: left -.028, right -.036. Drop at heel: 2-1/4″, drop at comb: 1-5/8″. Weight: 7 lbs. 4 oz. LOP: 14-1/4″. Included with gun is Abercrombie & Fitch hang tag giving specifications, with a price of $500.00.
PROVENANCE: Letter from Griffin & Howe with specifications for gun, as taken on consignment in 1953. It was sold in 1953 for $500.00. Hang tag.
CONDITION: Excellent. Bbls retain essentially all of a factory quality re-blue, with minimal polishing and loss to engraving. Action retains a considerable amount of its orig case hardening color, vivid where protected. High edges and tops of engraving have wonderful hand worn brilliant silver patina, to very fine effect. Top lever is silvered at thumbpiece. Stocks retain what appears to be their orig finish with a few minor marks. Checkering is slightly worn. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout with evidence of a dent being removed from left bbl, 9″ back from muzzle. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are perfectly timed. Close inspection of this fine shotgun leaves no doubt as to why these are often referred to as “Masterpiece” guns. Tag is fine.