Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1382: Engraved and Brass Stocked Wheellock Pistol

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Extraordinary Engraved and Brass Stocked 16th Century Wheellock Pistol of the Guards of Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbuettel

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $45,000 - $65,000

Extraordinary Engraved and Brass Stocked 16th Century Wheellock Pistol of the Guards of Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbuettel

Manufacturer: Unknown
Model: Wheellock
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 55
Barrel: 12 1/4 inch part octagon
Finish: bright
Grip:
Stock: metal/hardwood
Item Views: 383
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 182
Class: Antique
Description:

This is a very unusual and interesting style of wheellock pistol. It is a very rare late 16th century variant from a small group of brass stocked pistols made for the guards of Duke Julius of Brunswick-Luneburg (1528-1589) who reigned as the prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbuettel in 1568 to 1589 and also inherited the Principality of Calenberg in 1584. He is known for embracing the Protestant Reformation, and pieces of arms and armor made for him or his guards are represented in several important international institutional and national collections. Among the designs on the barrel of this pistol is his cipher which consists of a coronet over the entwined letters "IHZS." A plainer pistol with the monogram on the pommel trap lid is object number XI.1076 in the Study Collection of the Royal Armouries. They note, it is "One of a number of similar pistols made for a guard of Duke Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1528-1589). The monogram on the butt is likely the duke's monogram, though it can also be read as 'Jesus Hilf zur Seligkeit'" meaning "Jesus provides our salvation." The barrel is etched with scroll patterns, a classical nude female figure with a banner (possibly representing Venus), and dots, and the lock features a double headed reichsadler on the wheel cover and scroll designs on the plate. The brass outer cover of the stock is decorated with floral, scroll, mask, and classical figure designs, including a wildman on the bottom of the midsection and interesting mermen style designs with serpent tails on the left side. The pommel cover has a lion mask which is particularly relevant to Brunswick, Luneberg, and the House of Welf. A small button at the toe opens the hinged pommel cover revealing a compartment. Provenance: The Robert M. Lee Collection

Rating Definition:

Extremely fine with an attractive, smooth gray-brown patina along the lock and barrel, some darker spots with minor oxidation/pitting, distinct etching, natural aged patina along the brass, and mild overall wear including some dings and scratches. Mechanically untested. This is a very rare and distinctive 16th century wheellock pistol made to protect the Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbuettel.



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