An included letter from the makers dated 1948 confirms that this enormous Paradox gun was originally made for display at the 1900 Paris Exhibition. The rifle is listed in the letter as being purchased after the exhibition by Count László Szapáry of Hungary, likely referring to Károly István László Szapáry (1857-1933). Of the 89 total 10-bore Paradox guns manufactured, only 37 were hammerless like this example, and only 12 are listed as "Royals" and 3 as "Best". The factory letter, dated 1948 and addressed to legendary firearms collector John S. DuMont lists this example as a "'Royal' Best Quality". This gun is pictured and listed by serial number on p. 214-215 of "Paradox: The Story of Col. G.V. Fosbery, Holland & Holland, and the Paradox Vol. I" by Baker and Lake. The barrels are blacked and engraved with the Holland & Holland Bond Street address on the right, Paradox Fosbery patent on the left, thin bands of floral engraving on both at the breech, and a gold inlaid "1" on the rib at the breech. It is fitted with a raised combination front sight of a beaded blade and flip up larger white bead, a sling swivel on the bottom of the rib, and a fixed 50 yard notch rear sight with platinum inlaid center line dovetailed in the matted quarter rib. The action is casehardened and features extensive, masterfully executed, English floral scroll engraving with "CHARGE 8 DRAMS, CASE 2 7/8 INCHES." on the left, "HOLLAND & HOLLAND" on each of the back action locks, and dual triggers, the front checkered. The engraving extends to the break lever which also shows a gold inlaid "1" and the upper tang which extends up over the nose of the comb. The trigger guard, lower tang, and casehardened trapdoor grip cap also feature the floral scroll engraving. It is mounted with a finely figured and multipoint checkered forearm with engraved fittings, the lever latch inlaid with gold "1". The pistol grip stock is equally figured and checkered with gold escutcheon marked "crown/L" on the bottom for Count László, sling swivel, shadowline cheek piece, and a solid rubber recoil pad. Includes a leather takedown case with Holland & Holland leather trade label in the lid, two primed dummy rounds, and a Holland & Holland oiler. Stock measurements are: drop at comb 1 3/4 inches; drop at heel 2 7/8 inches; slight cast off, weight 13 lb. 7.8 oz.
Exceptionally fine, retains 85% of the slightly thinned blue finish, showing a slight plum hue, with a few very small patches of light pitting on each barrel near the breech and 90% of the original case colors with some very light spotting on the bottom of the action and crisp engraving. The wood is also very fine with a few scattered light dings and scratches, crisp checkering, and retaining almost all the varnish. Mechanically excellent.
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