Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1272: 1592 Dated Wheellock Hand Mortar/Grenade Launcher

Auction Date: August 27, 2022

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Estimated Price: $9,500 - $16,000

1592 Dated Wheellock Hand Mortar/Grenade Launcher

Manufacturer: Unknown
Model: Wheellock
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 2.36 inch
Barrel: 6 3/4 inch round
Finish: bright
Stock: hardwood
Item Views: 293
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 224
Class: Antique

Muzzleloading hand mortars in general are very rare, and the older examples are naturally even rarer. In addition to fused grenades (grenadoes), there are reports that at least some of these interesting firearms were used for launching fireworks, lines, incendiary projectiles, or grapeshot/buckshot. They were particularly suited to siege warfare, but they could be dangerous to use, especially in the case of a flash in the pan or other misfire with a lit grenade. This example is marked dated 1592 and is an very fascinating piece with fine metal work and scrimshaw inlays. The bronze/brass barrel has a 2.36 inch muzzle opening, cast girdles and floral patterns, and a plain iron tang. The lock has bestial engraving on the dog, some engraving on the other small components such as masks on the pan cover, "1592" (last digit is a bit hard to read) on the side of the pan, and an "AA" or "HH" maker's mark inside a cartouche shaped like two eagles endorsed. The stock has some incised carving at the forend tip, a pair of classical figures engraved on the stag-horn inlays by the tang, "1592" on the inlay immediately to the rear of the tang, an escutcheon with "B*D" over a stag's head, and disc shaped lock screw plates. Provenance: The Collection of Joe M. Wanenmacher Jr

Rating Definition:

Very good with dark aged patina on the barrel, gray patina and some minor oxidation on the lock and small components, replaced lock screws (re-tapped), and mild overall wear. The refinished stock is good with repairs visible around the lock, four holes on the underside of the forend, hole in the left side of the butt, repaired toe and heel, and general mild scratches, dings, gouges, and surface flakes. This is definitely a piece that will add interest to any antique arms collection.

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