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Auction Date: April 30, 2016

Lot 1297: Unknown - Wheellock

Sold for Unknown - Wheellock
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Sold For:
A) Brescian Wheelock Belt Pistol
Estimated Price: $65,000 - $95,000
Item Views 220 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Unknown - Wheellock ManufacturerUnknown ModelWheellock
TypePistol Gauge45 Catalog Page158
Barrel8 Inch Round FinishBright/gold Grip
Stockwalnut ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionRock Island Auction Company is proud to offer this exceptional and storied pair of incredibly fine 17th Century masterpiece quality Italian wheelock pistols. The underside of the locks have Lazarino/Lazaro Cominazzo's hallmark of "CL" over a motif. The Cominazzo family was active in Gardonne Val Trompia in the province of Brescia in what is now Italy primarily in the early to mid-17th century but were active as early as the mid-16th century and as late as the early 18th century. Often Cominazzo components, especially barrels, are found on beautiful firearms completed by other artisans such as the pair of Giovan Antonio Gavacciolo pistols with chiseled metalwork in the MET collection. The stocks on that pair have similar carving and molding to this example. Both pistols have coordinating, but slightly different chiseled designs with intricate floral scrollwork throughout, devilish faces on the butt caps, warriors battling mythical beasts on the rear section of the lock plates, wolf heads on the jaws, and Roman gods on the center of the barrels. The triggers are in the shapes of mythic marine animals. The barrels, lock and furniture feature masterpiece relief chiseling with richly gilt ground. The ramrods also have metalwork patterns, and the stocks have scroll carving, pierced scrollwork inlays, and belt hooks. The pair is accompanied by a correspondence from Dr. Michael Zomber detailing the incredible history and ownership pedigree in which he states the following: One of the pistols resided within the collection of the late William Goodwin Renwick of Tucson, Arizona since the 1930's. The Renwick collection was purchased and subsequently sold by Sotheby Parke Bernet in 1973-1974 with the exception of a Kuchenreuter flintlock pistol given by Sotheby's to Merril Lindsay for his aid in obtaining the collection, 160 or so pieces given to the Smithsonian Institution, and one of your Wheelock, which was given directly to Frank E. Bivens Jr. of Los Angeles by the Renwick heirs in recognition of service rendered. Mr. Bivens owned the other pistol of your pair and had coveted Renwick's since 1960. Your Italian pair were in the inventory of Mr. Bivens for $125,000 in 1974 and later raised to $150,000. Mr. Bivens always spoke of these Italian Wheelock with the same reverence with which he spoke of his two Sadler guns. He felt the quality of the Mannerist chiseling to be equal to the very best work of the Muncich Court Workshop." Mr. Zomber continues "The ornamentation on the locks and barrels is after Etienne Delaune and is very similar in detail to Borstoffer stocked Sadeler wheelock in the Musee de L'Armee."

ConditionVery fine. These pistols have survived traversing the Atlantic, two World Wars, the ravages of time and somehow, call it what you will were reunited. Most of the gold finish remains. The balance has bright surfaces and gray patina. There are some spots of slight pitting which is to be expected from a pair of 400 year old pistols. The stock is fine with some minor restoration work such as protective varnish on the inlay ahead of the lock and a pieced sliver under the belt hook. There is some small gaps between the stock, barrel, and lock. The front lock screw is absent, but the lock is secure.
B) Brescian Wheelock Belt Pistol
Serial #Unknown - Wheellock ManufacturerUnknown ModelWheellock
TypePistol Gauge45 Catalog Page158
Barrel8 Inch Round FinishBright/gold Grip
Stockwalnut ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionAs discussed in A.

ConditionVery fine. These pistols have survived traversing the Atlantic, two World Wars, the ravages of time and somehow, call it what you will were reunited. The vast majority of the gold remains with some light flaking. The balance has a mix of bright surfaces and gray patina. There is some slight pitting. There is a sliver piece replaced along the left side by the belt hook for preservation and some minor cracking on the back of the wrist and along the edge of the butt with some protective varnish on some of the stock inlays, all to be expected for a pair of 400 year old pistols. There is a small gap between the stock, lock, and barrel at the breech. This is a scarce and very beautiful pair of Renaissance Wheelock pistols from Italy in the early 17th century. The gold wash highlights the crisp metalwork wonderfully and really sets the pair apart.
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