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Auction Date: May 2, 2014

Lot 1392: Le Page Sa - Brevette

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Extraordinary Documented Cased Exhibition Quality Le Page Double Barrel Percussion Shotgun with Relief Chiseled Embellishment Elaborately Carved Ebony Stock Presented By the President of France to the President of Mexico and Once Part of the Harolds Club Museum of the Old West Collection
Estimated Price: $275,000 - $425,000
Item Views 212 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Le Page Sa   - Brevette ManufacturerLe Page Sa ModelBrevette
TypeShotgun Gauge12 Catalog Page192
Barrel29 1/4 Inch Solid Rib FinishCoin Grip
Stockrelief carved ebony ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis exhibition quality relief chiseled double barrel percussion shotgun features period craftsmanship of the highest quality that includes deep relief chiseled motifs, three dimensional carved steel components and beautifully carved ebony stock. The shotgun was once part of the Harolds Club Museum of the Old West and is described and photographed in a booklet published in 1958 by the Museum. The Museum describes the gun as "One of the most valuable weapons in the world, this shotgun was presented in 1879 by M. Paul Jules Grevy, President of France, to Don Manuel Gonzales, President of Mexico." The gun was examined by San Francisco jewelers Shreve & Company who stated, "there is no person living today capable of executing such metal carving. If such a person could be found, it would unquestionably take him 5 to 10 years to complete such as job." (By the early 1960s, the Harolds Club Museum in Reno, Nevada, possessed a collection of some 3,000 guns in all with about 2,000 displayed in the Roaring Camp Room, the Silver Dollar Bar, and elsewhere throughout the casino. Co-owner Harold Smith Sr. called it "one of the world's greatest gun collections," but in 1993 the collection was sold to Butterfield & Butterfield and the guns were auctioned off in May 1994.) Manuel Gonzales was a Mexican general and the 31st president of Mexico (1880-1884). Prior to his presidency, Gonzalez participated in the French intervention in Mexico as a lieutenant and in the Reform War as a general. In the defense of Puebla against the French in 1862, he was wounded and taken prisoner, but escaped. He was again taken prisoner by the French in 1865 and was later paroled and rejoined the Mexican army. In 1867 at the siege of Puebla he lost his right arm. Jules Grevy served as the President of France from 1879 to 1887 and is considered the first real republican President of France since his predecessors tried unsuccessfully to restore the French monarchy. The Damascus barrels by Parisian barrel manufacturer Leopold Bernard feature a solid rib signed "LE PAGE MOUTIER ARLer BREVETE A PARIS" in raised lettering flanked by raised foliate scrollwork. The rear of the barrels exhibit a 9 inch section of a chiseled vine, leaf and grape pattern on a dot background with a chiseled band of oak leaves and acorns at the front. A chiseled scroll pattern incorporating a beautifully carved three dimensional fox covers the fences and extends down the sides of the barrel breeches. The underside of the barrels are signed "LEOPOLD BERNARD/CANONNIER A PARIS" and have the numbers "N998" and "A1860" (the year of manufacture) and two "crown/LB star" proofs. The two steel ramrod pipes also feature chiseled floral scrollwork. The lock plates are full covered in a foliage scroll chiseled pattern with game scenes. The left lock plate has a lion and a snake and the right lock plate has two dogs and a stag. Both lock plates are signed "Lepage moutier", which follows the contour of the hammer in the fired position at the front. The barrel tang also features foliage scrollwork and has a chiseled vulture. The hammers are carved dogs that, when in the fired position, appear to be pouncing on the foxes located under the percussion nipples. The foliage scrollwork continues on the ornate buttplate side extensions and buttplate tang and include carved game scenes. The right side of the buttplate has a leopard, the left side of the buttplate has a leaping fox and the buttplate tang has three dogs bringing down a boar. The flat of the buttplate has an engraved floral scroll and rose blossom motif with a small mythical god face in the center. The handsomely carved trigger guard incorporates a three dimension carved steel pheasant eating grapes. The trigger guard finial and artfully shaped long extension feature chiseled foliage scrollwork with a chiseled bird on the finial and a carved three dimensional rabbit at the rear of the extension. A carved steel raised inlay adorns the sides of the stock. Each stock inlay is craved with a foliage pattern with the left inlay inscribed "Le Page Moutier ferit 1860." The forearm tip has a carved portrait of French President Grevy with a grape vine pattern below. The barrel wedge and escutcheons are adorned with motifs that complement the other embellishments. The ebony straight comb, straight grip stock features full coverage of a beautiful vine and leaf carving. Among the leaves are two craved nesting birds and at the buttplate are four carved cherubs holding hunted game. The ebony ramrod has an steel tip with the foliage pattern. The ebony takedown case has wide steel bands, monogrammed initial plate and hardware, all featuring a craved foliage pattern. The initial plate on the lid has an engraved "MG" monogram. The case is lined with blue velvet and the inside of the lid has padded lining with traces of gold lettering from the original maker's label. Accessories are included with the case. The two piece nicely figured wooden cleaning rod has a carved floral pattern on the hardware. The screwdriver has a wooden handle and a carved floral pattern carved on the metal surfaces. The wad cutter has a dot motif on the handle. There are also two plain wooden cylindrical containers. Le Page was a Parisian firearms manufacturer established in 1717, and run by the same family until 1913. Dumond took over the company in 1913, but retained the illustrious brand name. Firearms by this renowned manufacturer were shown at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1855 (1st Class Medal), 1867 (Silver Medal), 1878 (Gold Medal) 1889 (Grand Prix), in London in 1851 and 1862 (Prize Medals) and in Vienna 1873 (Medal of Progress).

ConditionExcellent overall. The metal surfaces have an attractive coin finish with the barrels retaining all of the Damascus pattern. Some light pitting is limited to the barrels contained under the forearm. The stock is fine with a couple minor cracks, a few hairline age cracks near the lock plates and some chipping along the edges of the forearm. The carving is crisp. Mechanically excellent. The case is very fine with some wear on lining and overall minor handling/storage marks. An exhibition quality double barrel percussion shotgun by renowned Parisian manufacturer with beautifully executed steel and relief wood carvings! This is the most magnificent European arm that we have ever offered at auction!
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