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Rare Pistols with Provenance Come to Auction

22nd June 2020.

Rare flintlock and percussion pistols are set to star in Tennants Auctioneers’ sale of Militaria and Ethnographica on 8th July, with a good pair of 18th century flintlock duelling pistols by Wogdon and Barton leading the way with an estimate of £14,000-16,000 (plus buyer’s premium). Robert Wogdon was a renowned gunmaker in London, famed for making the finest duelling pistols; he partnered with John Barton later in his career. The pistols come with provenance from Charles Bennet, Earl of Tankerville of Chillingham Castle, from whom they were purchased by a friend of the present vendor’s father; the initials ‘CB’ are engraved on a plaque to the original Calcutta made oak case.

From the same vendor comes a further good pair of 19th century flintlock ‘Man-Stopper’ travelling pistols by W & J Rigby of Dublin (estimate: £9,000-12,000 plus b.p.). An engraved brass plaque to the case reads ‘To Sir Mathew Slater, King’s Messenger to King George The Third. Travel Safely My Friend, Captain Nathaniel Mcbride’, and the pistols come with provenance from Vice Admiral Sir Roderick Macdonald. A third pair of 19th century percussion duelling pistols from the same vendor, this time made by John Manton & Son, London, are estimated at £8,500-9,500 (plus b.p.). This pair were originally the property of Baron von Arnsdorf of Germany and survived a bombing raid during the Second World War when they were buried under rubble.

Further interesting armaments in the sale include a 1795 cast iron one pounder cannon (estimate: £2,500-2,800 plus b.p.) and a First World War prototype model of a Coastal Defence Gun, made in 1915 and submitted to the Ministry of Defence for Approval (estimate: £2,000-2,500 plus b.p.). An Edwardian full dress part uniform to 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Foster of the Yorkshire Hussars is also of note, which is being sold with an estimate of £700-1,000 (plus b.p.).

In the Ethnographic section of the sale, highlights include a late 19th century Fijian Ula or throwing club, inset with a single human tooth (estimate: £600-800 plus b.p.) and a 19th century Fijian gun stock war club (estimate: £600-800 plus b.p.).

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