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Preview: Militaria & Ethnographica Sale 6 December

20th November 2023.

A very rare Colt Walker Model Single Action Six Shot Percussion Revolver is coming under the hammer in Tennants Auctioneers’ Militaria and Ethnographica Sale on 6th December, with an estimate of £4,000-6,000 (plus buyer’s premium). This highly collectable and very heavy model revolver was featured on the poster for the 1970s classic Western The Outlaw Josey Wales, being brandished by Clint Eastwood. Also of interest to collectors will be an American Confederate Smith’s Patent Poultney & Trimble Percussion Capping Breech Loading Carbine, made circa 1865 (estimate: £1,500-2,000), and early weapons in the sale include a Late 18th/Early 19th Century Flintlock Blunderbuss made by Wogdon & Barton, London (estimate: £1,000-1,500), one of the leading gunsmiths of the era.

The sale also includes a Private Collection of Militaria, comprising over 40 lots with a focus on Borders, Westmorland and Cumberland regiments. The late collector is thought to have purchased several of the lots from the Lowther Castle dispersal sale in 1947. In addition to several lots of badges and helmet plates, are a Late Victorian Full Dress Uniform to an Officer of the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry, inscribed inside the jacket ‘Captain A B Barnaby 1894’ (estimate: £900-1,200), and a Victorian Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry Kettle Drum Banner, embroidered with the regiment’s insignia of a double spray of acorns and oak leaves (estimate: £500-600). From the same collection comes an interesting Late 19th Century Sotho Tribe Beadwork Initiation Doll from South Africa (estimate: £100-200).
A further Private Collection in the sale comprises items relating to Bruce Bairnsfather, a humourist and cartoonist best known for his character ‘Old Bill’, who along with his friends Bert and Alf appeared in Bairnsfather’s weekly “Fragments from France” cartoons published in The Bystander during World War I. The cartoons first appeared following Bairnsfather’s repatriation with shell shock after the Battle of Ypres, and remained popular between the wars. Highlights of the collection include an Adkin’s Empire Nut Brown Tobacco Advertising Sign featuring Old Bill, bearing Bruce Bairnsfather’s signature (estimate: £200-300).

Also of interest are a Second World War Escape and Evasion Kit, issued prior to the D-Day landings to Lt. Cdr. John William Sherwood (estimate: £250-350). The kit comprises a Royal Navy button compass, a small escape compass, a ‘scratch-off’ dress stud escape compass, a pencil clip compass, two silk escape maps of France, Germany and Europe, and a selection of French and German banknotes. A further lot of note is a Collection of Fifty Four Second World War US Army Air Force Aeronautical Maps of the USSR. Offered with an estimate of £500-700, the maps were formally the property of the vendor’s late father, who was photographic officer/squadron leader in the Pathfinder Squadron, who were target markers for the RAF.

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