Lot #1218
Lot #1220

Lot 1219: Bate "Flintlock" Brown Bess Barrel Reservoir Repeating Air Gun

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: May 20, 2023

Lot 1219: Bate "Flintlock" Brown Bess Barrel Reservoir Repeating Air Gun

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: May 20, 2023

Estimated Price: $7,500 - $10,000
Price Realized:

Unique Documented Impressive Large 18th Century Engraved and Relief Carved English "Flintlock" Brown Bess Style Barrel Reservoir Repeating Air Gun by Edward Bate of London

Manufacturer: English
Model: Air Rifle
Type: Other
Gauge: 14.5 mm
Barrel: 36 inch round
Finish: bright
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 950
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 224
Class: Other
Description:

Edward Bate (1743-1810) was one of the most talented late 18th century air gun makers and was active in London. He was also among the few who produced high quality air pistols. Though this example offered looks like a scaled up large caliber flintlock Brown Bess style musket comparable to a wall gun in terms of size, it is actually a repeating air gun. It has a loading door located on the underbelly of the stock for use with lead balls in a concealed magazine tube, and they are loading into the bottom of the breech by moving the frizzen. The smoothbore barrel measures at approximately .58 caliber/14.5 mm and is actually rather smaller than the outer brass housing suggests. The outer housing consists of an air reservoir which surrounds the barrel. The "flint" is a piece of walnut. A pump is built in that is able to be accessed through a small rotating door located on the buttplate, and a rod pulls out of the buttstock for pumping air. Air guns of this style were used primarily for hunting. "Wind guns" had several advantages over conventional firearms including that they were quieter, smokeless, quicker to reload, and relatively unaffected by rain. They also required less cleaning since they did not require corrosive black powder like the flintlocks that this example is modeled after. The oversized brass barrel reservoir has a blade front sight, notch rear sight, "BATE LONDON" signature on top of the breech, and floral and border engraving on the breech and fittings. The flat bevelled step tailed lock is marked "BATE" at the tail, with a goose neck cock. The well-figured walnut full stock is carved in relief with a shell at the barrel tang and at the tail of each flat. The fittings are fine cast and chased brass, including the large side plate decorated as an elaborate martial trophy, and large shaped trophy of arms wrist escutcheon engraved in the center with a male wielding a sword and a large key. Includes a brass tipped wooden ramrod. Circular brass collection tag marked "R.D. BEEMAN/PRIVATE/COLLECTION/458" hanging from the trigger guard. This exact air gun is pictured and described on page 177 of "Blue Book of Airguns, Thirteenth Edition". Provenance: The Dr. Robert D. Beeman Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine with bright patina on the brass showing evidence of an old light polishing, a few patches of surface oxidation, refinished blue finish visible on the iron lock with some scattered light pitting, with lightly worn visible engraving on the breech and otherwise defined engraving on the balance of the fittings. Stock is fine as lightly sanded and revarnished, a repaired large crack visible on the left of the wrist, a crack on the underside ahead of the trigger guard, numerous professionally spliced and repaired sections visible around some of the edges, the buttplate tang is slightly proud, scattered light dents and scratches, with defined carvings and overall nice figure. The repeating mechanism appears to be possibly missing linkage, otherwise mechanically fine.



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