Two important guns by Purdey to be sold in aid of Gunmaker’s Charitable Trust
LONDON.-Gavin Gardiner Ltd’s auction of Modern & Vintage Sporting Guns, which is now going to be a Live/Online Auction on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 2pm will include two important guns by prestigous London-gunmaker James Purdey & Son, which is being sold in aid of the Gunmakers’ Charitable Trust. The Gunmakers’ Charitable Trust exists to promote the skills, both ancient and modern, required for the future of the guntrade. This includes a bursary scheme for educating those entering the trade, as well as allying modern skills with those possessed by bench trained gunmakers, and craftsmen and women in associated trades.
The first of two Purdey’s is an exceptional 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector gun, built in 1922 – the heyday of British gunmaking, which retains much of its original finish and is estimated to fetch £12,000-18,000. Purdey confirm that the gun was completed in 1923 for Abercrombie & Fitch with 2 5/8-inch chambers for the American market. It was stocked by Deane and the barrels were filed by Charlie Aston, two of Purdey’s best men at this time. The gun was owned by Mark Barty-King, the dynamic publisher who nurtured the careers of Frederick Forsyth, Jilly Cooper and Catherine Cookson as well as being responsible for the UK publication of Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”. The additional barrels were fitted by the maker in 1974 and were filed by Jack Aldous who was Purdey’s highest paid barrel maker at this time.
The second which is being sold on behalf of the Gunmakers’ Charitable Trust is a scarce 12-bore top lever bar-in-wood hammer live pigeon gun, also by J. Purdey & Sons, built in 1884 for the Compte de Casserta who won the Grand Prix du Casino, Monte Carlo in 1884, most likely with this gun. It is expected to fetch £12,000 – 15,000.
Elsewhere, a superb and unique 12-bore “The Paragon Pinless” round-body single/double trigger self-opening ejector gun by London-gunmaker Giles Whittome, is estimated to fetch £18,000-24,000. The 28-inch damascus barrels are decorated with gold foresight bead in the form of a labrador’s head with inset diamond eyes, vine leaf gold inlaid breeches and the rib is inlaid in gold. The gun was built in 1982 as a presentation piece. It was engraved by the Italian master, Sabatti and finished to the very highest possible standard. The damascus barrels were sourced from original unfinished tubes from the workshop of Thomas Bland and it was actioned by Brian Gibbs, formerly of Holland & Holland.
Another example by J. Purdey & Sons is a fine pair of 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector guns, that were built in 1980 and have recently been inspected and overhauled by them (est: £30,000– 35,000), while a pair of 12-bore single trigger sidelock ejector guns by Boss & Co that were built circa 1928 and were rebarreled and restocked by Boss & Co carry an estimate of £18,000-24,000.
Also of note is an exceptional and massive new 4-bore single trigger sidelock ejector gun by London maker Watson Bros, is estimated at £45,000-55,000. The gun remains unused and was recently completed. It is one of only a handful of guns of this calibre that have been made in recent years and features 42-inch barrels, a highly figured 15 1/5-inch stock with pistol grip and weighs in at a monster 17lb. 10oz. It is engraved with acorns and oak leaves against a stippled ground while the action base is engraved with flighting geese.
A fine pair of 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector guns by Symes & Wright, that were completed in 1992 and appear very little used, are estimated at £25,000 – 35,000.