Rock Island Auction Company
1-800-238-8022
Back to Catalog
Selling: September 12, 2014

Lot 1330: Boutet - Percussion

Full Screen
A) Nicolas Noel Boutet Percussion Pistol
Estimated Price: $60,000 - $95,000
Serial #Boutet - Percussion ManufacturerBoutet ModelPercussion
TypePistol Gauge44 Percussion Catalog Page152
Barrel1 Inch Round FinishBright GripHardwood
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThese magnificent pistols were made prior to 1804, the date when Boutet's son, Pierre-Nicholas, joined his father at the Versailles Manufactory. Though of traditional box lock, turn off barrel, folding trigger pocket pistol design, they transcend all other similar pistols in their execution and consummate mastery of wood carving, inlay, engraving, polish, artistry and use of mythological symbols. General Napoleon Bonaparte's conquest of Egypt in 1798 made the Sphinx an essential symbol in French Empire art and it is possible that these pistols were commissioned by the Directory to commemorate this event and presented to one of the generals who participated. Research in the Versailles records at the Metropolitan Museum or the Musee de l'Armee may reveal the identity of the intended recipient. Nicholas Noel Boutet is universally regarded as the greatest artist in the history of firearms and these pistols are proof of this as they are true works of art in pistol form. The engraving is exquisitely rendered and of a quality equal to anything by the Brown Brothers or Creative Art only they are two centuries earlier. As with all of the finest pairs, each pistol has different engraving, one with a dog and antlers, urns with fruit, and a mythical head of a harvest deity, and the other a rooster and a horned devil. The trigger plates each feature the same beautiful draped goddess but in different poses, framed standing on urns. Pistols are signed in full on underside of breeches "Boutet Directeur Artiste" and on top of frames "Manufact Versailles". All screws are finely engraved as are the push on safeties. The centerhammers are engraved with finely checkered hammer spurs indicating conversion by Boutet, himself, who worked well into the percussion period. Though the metalwork of these pistols is of the finest quality it is the woodwork of the butts that sets them apart from other Boutets, even the grand double cased pair made for Napoleon in the Musee de l'Armee which have flat gold inlaid Sphinxes. Boutet's woodcarving is always the best quality but his use of Grenoble walnut, inlaid with ebony, and overlaid with high raised relief carved polished boxwood is of the greatest rarity. Each pistol stock is a superb wood sculpture with relief Sphinxes, caduceus, swords, lyre, and the Masonic all seeing eye in polished boxwood. The Sphinxes on both pistols are posed in different positions as on only the very finest decorated pairs. The pistols are cased in their original upright casing with the original barrel wrench. A similar upright casing is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A cased set of Boutets in the Hermitage, Tassasuk figure 319, have boxwood and ebony inlaid butts though not nearly as magnificent and elaborate as on this pair. All firearms and swords by Boutet whether simply military arms or the most magnificent Imperial presentation pieces exhibit extraordinary quality and attention to the most minute detail throughout. Boutet's employment of mixed carved woods on pistol stocks is an artistic innovation unique to the Versailles studios and these pistols are among the very finest examples known.

ConditionExtremely fine. The pistol exhibits considerable bright original polish with some staining. appearance with a crisp engraving. The grip is excellent with a few minor handling marks. The woodcarving is pristine throughout as sharp and crisp as the day the pistols left the Versailles workshops more than two hundred years ago. Mechanically excellent. The accessories are very fine.
B) Nicolas Noel Boutet Percussion Pistol
Serial #Boutet - Percussion ManufacturerBoutet ModelPercussion
TypePistol Gauge44 Percussion Catalog Page152
Barrel1 Inch Round FinishBright GripHardwood
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionAs described in "A" with a few variations. The frame is engraved with a face of a mythical figure on the left side and a rooster on the right side. Notice that the floral pattern is also different than the floral engraving found on "A". The trigger is engraved with a different version of a classically styled figure of a woman. Although the right side of the grip retains the image of a griffin as found in "A", the left side differs from "A" as it has a carved lamassu (an Assyrian deity with a lion's body, eagle's wings, and human's head). The classical symbols on the outside edge of the grip are also different. The variations of to the two pistols complement each other extremely well and are the signs of a true pair.

ConditionExtremely fine. The pistol retains much of its original bright polish with only minor staining. The grip is excellent with a sharp carving. Mechanically excellent. The woodcarving is pristine throughout as sharp and crisp as the day the pistols left the Versailles workshops more than two hundred years ago. The case is in fine original condition throughout as well.
Click here to see keyboard shortcuts.
F Enters/exits full screen view for items
Esc Exits full screen view for items
Moves to previous lot, or moves to previous image if full screen view is enabled
Moves to next lot, or moves to next image if full screen view is enabled
Fully zooms the image when full screen view is enabled
Fits the entire image to the screen when full screen view is enabled

Payment

Buyer’s Premium: 17.5%

Cash Payment Discount: 2.5%

Participation Requirements: Valid Credit Card required for bidding approval. You will have the option to pay with these payment options: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Check, Money Order, Wire Transfer, and Cash.

Sales Tax: It varies each auction typically around 94% of auction items are not subject to sales tax. Read more here on sales tax.

We will contact you after the auction to arrange payment and shipping.

Terms

Premiere Auction Terms

Terms and conditions regarding Premiere Auctions. Revised : 08/29/2014

Shipping

SHIPPING CHARGES. All shipping charges must be paid by the successful bidder prior to delivery of the firearm. If Rock Island Auction (RIAC) is asked to ship the purchased lots, there will be a separate charge for such shipping. Shipping charges will be based upon what it costs RIAC to ship the purchased lots to the purchaser. All items must have shipping insurance; this insurance is mandatory. RIAC will not charge any labor charges for shipping. RIAC is not liable for any acts of omissions in packaging or shipping. Purchased lots handled by outside carriers or packers, including those RIAC may have recommended, may carry their own insurance and any claims for losses or damages should be addressed directly to the outside carriers or packers. RIAC will arrange for packing and shipping at RIAC’s earliest possible convenience. RIAC will attempt to ship as soon as possible; however, due to RIAC’s high volume of absentee bids, shipping can take up to two weeks after full payment is received. In the case of crating or any exceptional packaging, the purchaser will be charged RIAC’s cost from outside agents. Purchaser pays shipping, packing materials, and insurance charges. The shipping of any purchased items outside of the United States is hereby classified as “foreign export”. All foreign export is the sole responsibility of the purchaser.