The Auction Report: August 2015
- By Pete Moore
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- Last updated: 21/12/2016
We start the report this time with a lovely and desirable officer’s helmet, made circa 1850, of the Royal Midlothian Yeomanry Cavalry. It had binding to the front and back peaks, silver plated headband bearing regimental title, tall plain comb (with minor cracks to the top), with scarlet hair crest, velvet backed graduated chinscales, ear roundels bearing applied Star of the Order of the Thistle, a crowned large version of which forms the helmet plate. It was fought over by several bidders in the room before being bought eventually by an Internet bidder for £1800.
Here we have an Other Rank’s white metal cap badge of the Gold Coast Volunteers together with an example of a brass badge of the Gold Coast Territorial Force. They sold for £190. This shows a Victorian Other Rank’s brass cap badge of The 20th Hussars. It had a dark patina and made £140.
Moving on to edged weapons we show this Third Reich Naval officer’s dagger, by Puma, Solingen, the blade etched with sailing ships, fouled anchor, and panels of foliage, in its sheath. The blade was in very good condition and it went for £400.
This Third Reich SA dagger had a partly erased Rohm inscription on the blade. It was stamped with maker’s mark ‘E P & S, Solingen’, the Rohm signature was still visible and the nickel silver crosspiece was stamped with ‘Nm’ (SA group Nordmark). The sheath, which was a little rust stained, had hanging strap and belt loop. It sold for £725.
A 1796 pattern light cavalry trooper’s sword, the curved, shallow fullered blade, 32½ inches long, with maker’s name ‘T. Craven’ on the backstrap and several ‘crown and 4’ inspectors stamps at the forte, steel stirrup hilt with langets, plain pommel and backstrap with ears, wirebound leather grip, in its steel scabbard with two rings, the knucklebow and scabbard engraved en-suite ‘K/54’. It was a nice example and sold for £600.
Here we have an 1804 pattern naval cutlass, the plain straight blade, 29 inches long, with maker’s name ‘T. Craven’. It made £360.
Now we move to antique muzzle loading firearms with this martially marked six-shot .44 inch Colt Second Model Hartford Dragoon percussion revolver, number 891. The New York City address interrupted by the contemporary addition of a folding leaf rearsight, the framed stamped ‘Colts Patent US’, with early type ‘V’ mainspring. It was slightly refinished overall and the rammer had been repaired, but the rifling was excellent and it will make a good revolver to target shoot. There were two bidders, one in the room and one on the telephone. Eventually the telephone bidder won in with a bid of £2600.
Here we have a very nice and clean .300 inch Martini action Rook Rifl e, by Dickson & Son, Princes St, Edinburgh, number 20545. The 28 inch round barrel had a matted flat top, folding leaf rearsight, and maker’s name and address in a panel. The border engraved frame held the serial number and ‘Martini’s Patent’. A cocking indicator and safety catch were on the right side and the walnut halfstock had a checkered forend and wrist and horn forend cap. It sold for £550.
Finally for this report we have this .177 inch Webley Service Mark II third series air rifl e, number S2822, the barrel with matching numbers, the walnut butt with hand-checkered panels. There was just slight wear and the barrel cocking link pin had been re-riveted). It came with a leather bound canvas covered case (worn) with a green tin for Webley .177 inch Special Pellets. It went for £370.
The next sale is on:17th November, 2015.
Wallis and Wallis can be contacted on 01273 480 208 or by visiting www.wallisandwallis.co.uk.
A Winchester shotgun, once owned by Air Commodore Cecil George ‘Wiggles’ Wigglesworth, who inspired the famous Biggles children books, has been bought by The Royal Armouries in Leeds after it sold for £2200 at Holt’s Auctioneers’ September sale.
With an estimate of just £800-1200, Lot 1700 attracted a lot of attention after it was displayed at the CLA Game Fair earlier this year. The 12-bore ‘Model 21’single-trigger boxlock ejector has been in the family since Wiggles died in 1961, but only used a handful of times.
“On the day of the auction, this modest little gun had obviously caught the imagination of a number of bidders and the bidding rose quickly to over double its predicted high estimate,” explained Holt’s Auctioneers’ Chris Beaumont, adding: “The best of it was that the ‘last man standing’ in the bidding war and the successful buyer was none other than Mark Murray-Flutter, Senior Curator to The Royal Armouries. The story will not disappear into the unknown, but now belongs to the nation for us all to be able to enjoy.”
Holt’s Auctioneers’ next sale is on 10th December 2015. hwww.holtsauctioneers.com
A sculpture titled ‘The Wounded Comrade’ of elephants helping a bull shot by a hunter, was created by a man who saw this in real life and who escaped twice from near death experiences while hunting in Africa.
The sculpture comes to market in Bonhams Sporting Guns sale on December 2nd in Knightsbridge. It is estimated to sell for £40,000 to £60,000. The sculpture by Carl E. Akeley (1864-1926) is a work cast in bronze, depicting a wounded elephant supported by two others. Akeley made his name as a taxidermist of genius who worked in the major American museums creating wildlife dioramas.
The inspiration for this work appears to have come from an incident whilst Akeley was in Uganda, when his team disturbed a herd of over seven hundred elephant in dense forest, scattering them in all directions and forcing Akeley’s group to shoot to avoid being trampled. Akeley, having escaped, said that looking back he saw that one of those hit had been a large bull, which had gone on 25 yards and collapsed. Six cows had stayed behind, surrounded the bull, and were using their trunks in an attempt to lift him to his feet.
His first really close shave came when he accompanied US President Theodore Roosevelt’s safari to Africa. Whilst hunting on Mount Kenya Akeley was attacked and pinned to the ground by an enraged bull elephant. His porters having deserted him, he was only saved after his wife and two of his porters returned and carried him off the mountain.
The second time he nearly died while out hunting happened when he fired a chance shot into a moving bush, angering a leopard. Akeley and his guide decided to skirt round the bush and continue back to camp by crossing a dry creek bed, but took a wrong turn and found themselves cornered by the leopard in fading light. Akeley fired as the leopard pounced but managed only to graze it before running out of ammunition. Having turned away to protect himself, the leopard luckily seized only his right arm, and in the ensuing struggle he managed to strangle the leopard, with its skin becoming part of one of his museum later dioramas.
The sculpture ‘The Wounded Comrade’ was first owned by Philip Percival (1880-1966), professional hunter and founding president of the East African Professional Hunters’ Association, thence by descent to the vendor. ‘The Wounded Comrade’ was first produced in 1913 at the Roman Bronze Works, New York.
In 1921 he set out on his fourth expedition, this time to Mt. Mikeno on the edge of the Belgian Congo to collect gorillas. Whilst there he had an epiphany which radically altered his attitudes, leading him to campaign for the area to be protected. This resulted in the creation of the Albert National Park (later renamed the Virunga National Park) by King Albert I of Belgium in 1925, the first of its kind in Africa.
Akeley led a remarkable life, both as an artist and an inventor. He was made a member of the National Institute of Social Sciences in 1916 for “making taxidermy one of the arts”, with the president of the Museum of Natural History, Henry Fairfield Osborn, comparing his skill to the great classical sculptor Pheidias. www.bonhams.com