This is among the limited amount of high quality air pistols made during the early 18th century, serving as an advanced piece of technology for the time. "FRANTZ HEINTZ" silver inlaid on the top flat of the barrel ahead of silver inlaid patterns on top of the breech of the barrel, and the flat beveled iron lock is signed "FRANTZ-HEINTZ/IN STERNBERG" at the center, with a faux "flintlock" goose neck cock. Frantz (also spelled Franz) Heintz was active out of Sternberg, Germany between circa 1690-1730. Although resembling a flintlock pistol of the time, this embellished well made air pistol has a concealed reservoir inside the grip, which is able to be unscrewed and detached for refilling. "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. The smoothbore barrel measures at approximately .38 caliber/9.5 mm, with German silver blade front sight and scooped notch rear sight integral to the brass breech tang. High quality engraving throughout, including a scene of noblemen with a servant carrying their guns depicted on the tail of the lock, a clamshell on the wrist escutcheon, beautiful chased and engraved scenery of angels and animals on the left sideplate, and various patterns of floral and border engraving. The well-figured walnut full stock (including the concealed air reservoir grip) has a brass tip, and high quality deeply cut floral relief carvings. The fittings are fine cast and chased brass. Includes a brass tipped wooden ramrod. Provenance: The Dr. Robert D. Beeman Collection
Very good, with bright surfaces on the iron with some scattered minor pitting, faded silver inlay, attractive golden bright patina on the brass fittings, and distinct engraving overall. Stock and grip are also fine, with professionally repaired and spliced sections at the front of the forend, a few discreet repairs, some light handling marks, and defined relief carvings. Mechanically fine.
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