Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 133: James II Era R. Brooke Flintlock Carbine with Plug Bayonet

Auction Date: September 10, 2021

Incredibly Rare James II Era 17th Century Robert Brooke English Flintlock Cavalry Carbine with Plug Bayonet

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $10,000 - $20,000

Incredibly Rare James II Era 17th Century Robert Brooke English Flintlock Cavalry Carbine with Plug Bayonet

Manufacturer: British
Model: Flintlock
Type: Carbine
Gauge: 69
Barrel: 31 inch part octagon
Finish: bright
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1438
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 108
Class: Antique

This carbine was manufactured during the short and tumultuous reign of James II of England (1685-1688) and has his "J2R" cipher at the center of the "banana" profile lock and "BROOKE" signed in a banner at the tail. The bridleless lock is secured by three screws and has ".T" on the inside. A few of these early flintlock carbines by Brooke are estimated as from c. 1685 in the Royal Armouries' collections, and another is shown in Figure 4 of "The British Royal Cypher-1660 to Present CRII-ERII" by Peter Stuyvesant Wainwright in the American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin from 1996. Robert Brooke was an Ordnance contractor in 1661-1689 and was a known manufacturer of these rare carbines. Martial carbines from the era in general were limited. Some of these carbines are believed to have been used in the North American colonies. It has a smoothbore, three-stage barrel with slight muzzle flare, rounded blade front sight, slight band at the first transition, a "crown/IR" stamp and "crown/flower" proof marks on the top flat at the breech, another proof on the tang, and Brooke's "coronet/RB" maker's mark on the upper left at the breech. It has nicely shaped brass ramrod thimbles, a sheet iron trigger guard, and simple sheet brass buttplate. The stock shows a bit of a transitional appearance between the rounded wheellock carbine style butts and the flatter later carbines and muskets and has a storekeeper mark on the right. The trigger is noticeably thicker than is usually scene on guns from the era, but this is consistent with other Brooke carbines. The small plug bayonet has an 11 inch trefoil blade and a black leather scabbard. James II (James VII in Scotland) was the last Catholic monarch of England, Scotland, and Ireland and was removed from power in the famous "Glorious Revolution of 1688" (or Bloodless Revolution). His efforts to rule as an absolute monarch in defiance of Parliament combined with his Catholicism and friendly relations with the "Sun King" Louis XIV of France, England's historic rival, certainly did not help matters, but the birth of his son, James Francis Edward Stuart, in 1688 really brought tensions to a head since it established a Catholic heir and thus a potential Catholic line to the throne into the future. Prince William of Orange, the husband of James II's protestant daughter Mary, was "invited" to invade and take the throne as William III. With his landing, James II's army largely deserted him, and he fled to France but did not abdicate the throne. Ruling together, William and Mary famously signed the English Bill of Rights in 1689 that guaranteed more freedom and power in Parliament, rules for the line of succession to guarantee Protestants remained on the throne, and individual liberties, such as the right to bear arms for self-defense (for Protestants) and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. The trampling, or perceived trampling, of rights guaranteed in 1689 were in part the origins of the American Revolution, and the U.S. Bill of Rights has clear echoes of the English Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms. James II attempted to recover the throne in 1689 and landed in Ireland with French support while the Jacobites in Scotland were in revolt on his behalf, but his forces were defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in northeastern Ireland, and he was forced again to return to France were he was under Louis XIV's protection until his death in 1701. The French king recognized his son as James III. However, Anne, James II's other Protestant daughter, became queen of Great Britain and Ireland in 1707 upon William III's death and reigned until her death in 1714 when George I of the House of Hanover became king marking the beginning of the Georgian era. Supporters of the would be James III (James VIII in Scotland) led another Jacobite uprising in Scotland in 1715, and his son, "Bonnie Prince Charlie," led a final rising in 1745 with French support that even invaded England before being crushed at the Battle of Culloden. With the Jacobite army defeated and George II secure on the throne, the era of the Stuart's was over. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Very good with a silver-gray patina and patches of darker mild pitting on the lock and barrel, repaired jaw spur, varied aged patina on the brass (components of mixed ages) and gray-brown patina and mild pitting on the trigger guard. The stock is also fine and has a few cracks and repairs (including a crack in the breech section, moderate dings and scratches, and some small spots of loss. The bayonet is fine and has a coarse blade, hairline crack in the wood, and mild wear on the scabbard. Mechanically fine. This is an incredibly rare and early English flintlock carbine. Examples like this are incredibly difficult to acquire, especially outside of the United Kingdom. Because of his short rule, all firearms with James II's cipher are very scarce. The ties to the last crowned English, Scottish, and Irish Catholic monarch certainly adds to this carbine's interest.

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