Henry Bales is recorded as working for Forsyth & Co. in London c. 1808-1811 and then setup his own shop at 2 Upper James Street, Golden Square, London, and is listed in Ipswich c. 1814-1830 and died in 1835. His son John Bales appears to have taken over the London business, and his son George William Bales took over the Ipswich business. The heavy, Damascus barrels of these classic British dueling pistols are smoothbore and have fixed silver blade front sights, "H. Bales, Ipswich." in gold inlaid script, recessed patent breeches with gold bands and platinum liners, and Birmingham proofs and "49" (A) and "50" (B) on the undersides. The floral engraved standing breeches have fixed notch rear sights. There are floral engraved reinforcing plates by the breeches as well. The flat locks have border, scroll, burst, and floral engraving patterns; "H. BALES/IPSWICH" signed at the centers, platinum lined rainproof pans, frizzen spring rollers, reshoed frizzens, and sliding safeties. The triggers are plain but are finely tuned along with the locks to provide light and clean pulls and fast ignition. They are enclosed by spurred trigger guards with "H. BALES" on the shields among the classical martial engraving as well as floral and border engraving. The trigger guard spurs can be used to help steady the pistols. The trigger plates and ramrod entry pipes also have engraving. The silver forend caps, wedge escutcheons, and thumb escutcheons are plain. The highly figured stocks have checkered, bag shaped wrists. The pistols come in a custom fitted hardwood case with a three-compartment powder flask containing spare flints in the bottom compartment, several lead balls, a casehardened and "766" marked ball mold, a turnscrew, brass container, some patches, and loading and cleaning rods. The lid escutcheon has "TM" or "JM."
Fine with 95% plus refinished brown and distinct twist patterns on the barrel, some minor pitting, bright gold inlay with some minor loss, aged patina on the silver, mostly dark gray patina on the lock and furniture, crisp engraving, and minor overall wear. The stock is very good and has crisp checkering, beautiful figure, a faint crack at the forend cap on the right, and light scratches and dings. Mechanically excellent aside from the ineffective safety. The relined case and accessories are very good and have mild age and storage related wear.
Fine with 95% plus of the refinished brown and distinct twist patterns along the barrel, some light pitting, some slight loss of the gold, aged patina on the silver, mostly dark gray patina on the lock and furniture, replacement top jaw and jaw screw, crisp engraving, and mild overall wear. The stock is very good and has crisp checkering, attractive figure, a repaired chip and hairline cracks on the forend, crack through the breech section, and light scratches and dings. Mechanically excellent.
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