Manufactured circa 1886, this unique and rare John Dickson shotgun features three 16 gauge barrels, a side lever and a round action. The middle barrel has a bead front sight. The right rib is marked "JOHN DICKSON & SON" followed by "PATENT" and the left rib is marked "63 PRINCES STREET EDINBURGH". The breech end of each rib is engraved with a small wedge of fine scroll. The top of the middle barrel is marked with the number "2". The underside and the barrel flats are marked with the matching serial number and various proofmarks. The water table is also marked with the matching serial number and "PATENT/J.D & S". The initials "RLR" and a social security number have been scratched into the water table. The action, trigger guard, trigger guard plate, break lever and forearm hardware are engraved with fine English scroll designs. Each side of the action is marked "JOHN DICKSON & SON PATENT" in a banner. The serial number is engraved on the lower tang. The number "2" is also marked on the forearm and on the inside of the forearm hardware. Writer believes this shotgun may have been one of a two gun set at one time. The unique action has two triggers and three cocking indicators. The forward trigger fires the middle barrel, the rear trigger fires the right barrel and the forward barrel then fires the left barrel. Tang mounted automatic safety with gold "SAFE". Mounted with a nicely figured checkered walnut forearm with a horn forend insert and a straight grip stock and checkered horn buttplate with "Walther Rothschild" inscribed initial oval. 2 3/4 inch chambers, choked improved cylinder/full/full with ejectors. 14 3/4 inch length of pull. Walter Rothschild (1868-1937), 2nd Baron Rothschild was a scion of the Rothschild family. He was a British banker, a politician and a zoologist. At 21 he went to work in the family bank, N.M. Rothschild & Sons in London. He worked there from 1889 to 1908. He was a Conservative Member of Parliament for Aylesbury from 1899 until January 1910 when he retired from politics. He studied zoology at Magdalene College in Cambridge. He had an interest in bird and butterfly taxonomy. He opened a private museum in 1892 which housed one of the largest natural history collections in the world. At one point his collection included 300,000 bird skins, 200,000 bird eggs, 2,250,000 butterflies, 30,000 beetle and thousands of mammals, reptiles and fish. In 1932 he was forced to sell the vast majority of his bird collection to the American Museum of Natural History after being blackmailed by a woman. Rothschild died in 1937. The shotgun comes with a later production contemporary replacement hard leather case with brass corner protectors and leather straps and handle. The interior is lined with red felt with a John Dickson & Son label affixed to the inside of the lid. In the case are a two-piece nicely figured wooden cleaning rod with screw on ivory handle, three ivory handled screwdrivers, a nickel plated oiler, two wooden containers with screw on lids, three nickel 16 gauge snap caps, a nickel plated container with screw on lid, cleaning rod attachments, game bird counter and a nickel 10 gauge snap cap.
Excellent. The barrels retains 99% original brown finish and show all of the Damascus pattern. The trigger guard retains 85% original blue finish with wear on the high areas. The action retains 95% original bright case colors with some smooth gray on the high spots. The wood is also excellent with a few minor dents, dings and scratches. The checkering remains very crisp. The markings and engraving are crisp and clear. Mechanically excellent. An exceptionally nice rare and unique John Dickson three barrel shotgun.
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