Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 2286: Cased Pair of John Blanch Marked Percussion Pistols

Auction Date: December 2, 2017

Fine Cased Pair of Silver Mounted and Engraved British Percussion "Manstopper" Traveling Pistols Retailed by John Blanch, London, Circa 1830-1840

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $8,000 - $12,000

A) British Percussion Pistol

Manufacturer: Blanch John
Model: Percussion
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 67
Barrel: 2 7/8 inch octagon
Finish: brown/casehardened/blue
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1322
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 175
Class: Antique
Description:

These relatively small pistols would have been excellent for use by a traveler and would have fit in the pockets of many period coats. They are similar to earlier flintlock "manstopper" coat pistols. Their large caliber would have been devastating at self-defense ranges. The captive ramrods would have aided when reloading and negated concerns about dropping a ramrod under stress or while on the move. John Blanch (b. 1785) was briefly partnered with his father-in-law and former Master Jackson Mortimer in the partnership Mortimer & Blanch and also worked for John Manton. In 1834, he rose to the rank of Master in the Farriers Company. All three of Blanch's sons apprenticed under their father, but the first two emigrated to Australia. His third son, William (1822-1899), became a partner in the company in 1848. The locks are marked "J. BLANCH" near the center and have sliding half-cock safeties. The bottom of the smoothbore Damascus barrels. They have post front sights, gold banded breech plugs, notch rear sights on the upper tangs, and primarily floral and martial pattern engraving. The nose plates, wedge escutcheons, shell designed inlays/ramrod capture springs, thumb plates, wire inlaid floral patterns on the edge of the butts, and the floral inlays on the butts are all silver. The stocks have checkered wrists and swelled pommels. They come in an English fitted oak case with a John Blanch trade label, screwdriver and nipple wrench set, small powder flask, a mix of over and undersized lead balls, patches, and a partially full cap tin.

Rating Definition:

Fine with 75% of the original brown and blue finish and nearly all of the original case colors. The Damascus patterns on the barrel are distinct, and the case colors on the breech are particularly vivid. The gold band remains complete. There is a crack forming on the neck of the hammer, and there is some spots of light oxidation/pitting. The silver has attractive aged patina throughout. The stock is also very fine and has crisp checkering and scattered light dings and scratches. Mechanically excellent. The case is very good with moderate storage wear, including some chips, and has soft pads added to the bottom. The accessories are fine with mild storage wear.



B) British Percussion Pistol

Manufacturer: Blanch John
Model: Percussion
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 67
Barrel: 2 7/8 inch octagon
Finish: brown/casehardened/blue
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1322
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 175
Class: Antique
Description:

See A.

Rating Definition:

Fine with 85% of the original brown finish and distinct Damascus patterns on the barrel, nearly all of the original case colors, 75% original blue finish, and some patches of mild oxidation/pitting. The gold band remains complete. There is a repaired crack in the neck of the hammer. The silver has taken on an attractive aged patina. The stock is also very fine and has crisp checkering, a faint hairline crack in the forend tip on the right, and general small dings and light surface scrapes. Mechanically excellent. This is a really nice cased pair of cased pistols by a talented English gunmaker connected to two of London's finest gunmaking families.



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