Trigger Happy - Purdey Pistol at Auction

Posted in: Medals & Militaria
Posted on: 30 January 2015
Trigger Happy - Purdey Pistol at Auction Imagine the best car in the world turning up at McTear’s. Perhaps a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. Well, the pistol equivalent is featured in The Medals & Militaria Auction on February 19th. So what is it, I hear you ask? Well it is a Victorian percussion turn-over pistol, with four barrels and manufactured by one of the finest gunsmiths in the world, namely Purdey.

Purdey has an amazing history, beginning in 1814 from their premises in Prince’s Street, London. James Purdey came from a family of blacksmiths and was immediately successful with his guns. Within ten years, he was being hailed as ‘the finest gunsmith in London’! The firm moved to 314 Oxford Street, London, in 1826, where it stayed until 1872 and this is the period relating to our pistol. During the Oxford Street years, the firm supplied guns to celebrities such as Charles Darwin and to royalty. Queen Victoria and Edward VII both commissioned guns and every monarch since has assigned the firm a Royal Warrant. Today, if you wish to purchase a new Purdey shotgun, the price tag starts at about £57,000 and could be over £100,000!

Lot 2053, a Purdey turn-over pistol, displays all the hallmarks of the finest gunsmiths. The barrels are damascened, meaning mixed metals are forged in the barrels, creating a distinctive pattern, the sideplates are immaculately engraved with scroll decoration and the finest walnut is used for the grip. To add to the undeniable quality, this is a rare pistol of great invention, having a complex and technologically advanced mechanism for the period. This is surely the Silver Ghost of the pistol world! It is estimated at £3,000 – 6,000 and is sure to create a buzz at the auction!

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