Rock Island Auction Company
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Lot 372: Silver Inlaid Wheellock Pistols with Figural Carved Pommels

Auction Date: December 3, 2021

Silver Inlaid Wheellock Pistols with Beautiful Figural Carved Pommels

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $22,500 - $35,000

A) Wheellock Pistol

Manufacturer: Unknown
Model: Wheellock
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 56
Barrel: 15 1/8 inch part octagon
Finish: silver/blue
Grip:
Stock: hardwood
Item Views: 618
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 226
Class: Antique
Description:

The included letter from Dick Reyes on Fort Carson Antiques-Guns, Inc. letterhead from 1975 indicates these pistols were previously in the "Victor McLaughlin collection" and adds that McLaughlin was a famous actor who had died several years prior. He is likely referring to Victor McLaglen who is famous for films such as "The Informer" and also appeared in westerns with John Wayne. Reyes also noted that they "were probably made for the Mediterranean trade for some very important person." The metal components feature raised scroll, floral, and Greco-Roman mythology themed designs in silver with the heads of the harpy design near the muzzles serving as the front sights. The top jaws have silver bestial masks. The replacement stocks have inlaid silver wire scrollwork and horn forend caps. While the silver designs are eye catching and interesting, what really sets the pistols apart are the carved antique ivory pommels which are shaped as the head of a mustachioed dragoon. They are fairly similar to the pommel on the pistol on the cover of "Dutch Firearms" by Arne Hoff and also very similar to the pairs shown on pages 204 and 205 and plate XV of the same work. These flintlock pistols are all late 17th century Maastricht. These pistols appear to have been reworked in the Victorian era, possibly in the Frederick Spitzer work shops, including by fitting these attractive pommels which may have been taken from a pair of Dutch flintlock pistols. The two pistols have some differences in some of the components, fitting, and embellishment that would not be expected on an original pair.

Rating Definition:

Good with aged patina on the silver and dark brown patina on the iron along with some mild oxidation and pitting. The stock is fair and has repairs in the forend and by the front of the lock, some fit issues, some thin cracks, and slivers of wire absent or coming loose. The pommel is very good and has attractive natural tones and grain, age cracks, some chips on the right side, an absent eye, and a darker aged patina on the left side. The lock has not been tested.



B) Wheellock Pistol

Manufacturer: Unknown
Model: Wheellock
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 56
Barrel: 15 1/8 inch part octagon
Finish: silver/blue
Grip:
Stock: hardwood
Item Views: 618
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 226
Class: Antique
Description:

See "A."

Rating Definition:

Good with aged patina on the silver and dark brown patina on the iron along with some mild oxidation and pitting. The stock is fair and has some cracks and repairs in the forend and underside of the midsection, and a few slivers of wire absent. The pommel is very good and has attractive natural tones and grain, age cracks, an absent eye, and a darker aged patina on the left side. The lock has not been tested. Pistols with these distinctive carved stocks or pommels are very rarely seen outside of Europe, and many of the known examples are contained within institutional collections.



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