Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1126: Inscribed Durs Egg London Brass Barreled Flintlock Blunderbuss

Auction Date: September 11, 2021

Historic Durs Egg London Brass Barreled Flintlock Blunderbuss Inscribed for General Thomas Graham, Baron of Lynedoch, with Folding Bayonet

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $6,000 - $9,000

Historic Durs Egg London Brass Barreled Flintlock Blunderbuss Inscribed for General Thomas Graham, Baron of Lynedoch, with Folding Bayonet

Manufacturer: Egg
Model: Blunderbuss
Type: Shotgun
Gauge: 16
Barrel: 15 1/2 inch part octagon
Finish: bright/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 739
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 95
Class: Antique

The rear lock screw washer/side plate is inscribed with "CANDIDE UT SECURE" (literally "Candidly and Securely" or "Frankly and Fearlessly" and listed in period sources as "Honesty is the best policy") in a banner over a perched eagle and "TG." This is the motto of Clan Graham and of Scotsman Thomas Graham (1750-1843), 1st Baron Lynedoch, British general, and Whig member of Parliament from Perthshire. He was inspired to join the fight against the French after the desecration of his wife's body by French soldiers and remembered for his many gallant victories. Sir Walter Scott even included him in the final line of the poem "Vision of Don Roderick" due to his romantic devotion. Among his most important military achievements were the successful two year siege and capture of the Island of Malta starting in 1798 that led to the island becoming an important U.K. territory until 1964 and the defeat of two French divisions and the capturing of French regimental eagle by his single division at the Battle of Barrosa in 1811 despite being outnumbered nearly 2 to 1 and having marched through the night and part of the day before. He was also party to the Defense of Toulon in 1793, siege and capture of Ciudad Rodrigo in 1812, and the siege and capture of San Sebastian in 1813. This blunderbuss was manufactured around the early 19th century when Graham was actively fighting the French. He was raised to his peerage in 1814. It would have been a very suitable weapon during his travels. This pattern was especially popular for use in defending coaches in England against highway robbery. Graham's own coach was once attacked on Park Lane prior to him joining the military. Even then he was not one to back down from a fight; he bravely leapt out the carriage door with his sword drawn and seized one of the bandits. The other assailants fled as he threatened to run their accomplice through. The blunderbuss has a multi-stage brass barrel signed "-D. EGG - LONDON-" on top at the breech and marked with two London proof marks on the upper left flat. Swiss-born gun maker Durs Egg (1748-1831) was first active in Solothurn and Paris before moving to England and establishing a shop in London in 1772. He was among the most talented gun makers in all of the United Kingdom. The bore is approximately 16 bore and flares to 1 1/8 inch at the muzzle for easier loading. The top is fitted with a spring loaded folding bayonet that is secured by a slide latch on the upper tang when folded and a stud on the muzzle when deployed. The breech has an engraved band and "crown/GP" and "crown/V" London proof and view marks. The lock has "-D. EGG-" at the center, a large roller on the frizzen spring, and a sliding half-cock safety. The trigger guard has an acorn finial and crossed axes, a club, a patriotic shield, and laurel engraved on the bow. The stock has fine checkering at the wrist, and the buttplate is engraved with a stand of arms consisting of a club, pole axe, and quiver of arrows and floral patterns on the tang.

Rating Definition:

Fine overall. The brass has a pleasing aged patina throughout, and the iron has a mottled blend of dark brown and gray patina. The markings and inscriptions are excellent. There are some minor scrapes and dings throughout and some residue in the recesses. The stock is fine and has crisp checkering, scattered small dents and light scratches, a repaired crack on the right at the front of the forend and a small crack on the opposite side. The bayonet latches function properly, but the spring is a little weak and does not release with enough force to latch it at the front. This is fairly common with this type of bayonet. The lock is mechanically excellent. Inscribed blunderbusses are great rarities compared to other period weapons. Those associated with specific European nobles, let alone men with such successful military careers as General Thomas Graham, are truly scarce. This blunderbuss is certain to enhance any British or European arms collections and is particularly well-suited for a Napoleonic Wars collection.

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