Edward Bate (1743-1810) was one of the most talented late 18th century and early 19th century air gun makers and was active in London. He was among the few who produced high quality air pistols in multiple formats as can be seen by the rare examples in this auction. The silver mounts have London hallmarks including "M-B" (Moses Brent c. 1775-1817) and "O" date code (1809). This pistol is documented on p. 149-150 and plate 162 of "Early Firearms of Great Britain and Ireland from the Collection of Clay P. Bedford" by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (incorrectly listed as by Thomas Bate). A similar pistol by Bate is also in the Collections of the Royal Armories, Leeds (No. XII.3834) with silver hallmarks for 1785. The rifled barrel is gilded brass and has a silver blade front sight, "-BATE-LONDON-" signature, notch rear sight and engraving on the tang, and silver under rib. It has a single set trigger. The lock is marked "-BATE-" and has border and martial engraving as does the silver furniture. A small "2" (indicating this was the second pistol of a pair) is marked on the stock below the silver escutcheon. The back of the wrist has an engraved key slot for mounting a now absent shoulder stock. The stock also has silver wedge escutcheons and a finely checkered wrist. A brass mounted copper ball reservoir, almost certainly original, is fitted to the pistol, and a second iron ball reservoir with modern brass attachment is included. It also includes a stirrup pump complete with checkered wooden handle and iron foot plate. Provenance: The Clay P. Bedford Collection; The Collection of Joe M. Wanenmacher Jr
Fine with small patches of original gilding, aged patina on the exposed surfaces of the barrel, attractive tarnish on the silver, gray and brown patina on the lock, and minor marks and scratches. The stock is also fine aside from a repaired crack between the lock and reservoir and has crisp checkering and minor scrapes and dings. The lock is mechanically fine. The pump is fine with crisp checkering, mottled patina, and generally only mild aging.