An extensive group of antique arms, armour and modern sporting guns fetched over £740,000 when it went under the hammer at Bonhams yesterday, with 83% of items sold by lot and by value. The atmosphere at the sale was explosive as a host of international collectors and dealers competed for the lots on offer.
The sale was split into two distinct parts, with Modern Sporting Guns sold in the morning and the Antique Arms and Armour going under the hammer later in the day. Both components proved hugely popular with buyers.
Particular highlights from the first part of the sale included a fine pair of 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector guns by J. Purdey & Sons which sold for £31,000, ahead of the pre-sale estimate of £22,000-25,000. Whilst a fine 12-bore (2¾in) single-trigger over-and-under sidelock ejector gun by Boss & Co achieved £16,000 (estimate £10,000-15,000).
Several lots from the Antique Arms and Armour sale also triggered tremendous interest. Amongst them, a fine Dutch bronze cannon (dated 1650, almost certainly by Johannes Burgerhuys of Middelburg, Zeeland) which achieved three times its pre-sale estimate of £4,000-6,000 selling for £16,500. Other noteworthy successes include a rare pair of 54-bore d.b. flintlock box-lock pistols signed William Grice of 1778, which fetched £8,000 (against an estimate of £5,000-7,000), a very rare cased pair of 40-bore flintlock duelling pistols by Thomas Manton, circa 1817 achieved £18,000 (estimate £15,000-20,000) and a fine cased pair of 34-bore early flintlock duelling pistols by John Twigg of c1766-1770 which sold for £19,000 ahead of an estimate of £10,000-15,000.
Commenting on the sale, David Williams, Director of the Antique Arms, Armour and Modern Sporting Guns Department said that: “The success of the sale shows that this area of applied arts within Bonhams is still being actively pursued by buyers. This was a highly representative sale, with a good mixture of lots showcasing the success of the department, and we were delighted with the results on behalf of our clients.”