The Auction Report: October 2015
- By Pete Moore
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- Last updated: 21/12/2016
This autumn’s Connoisseur Sale saw a large number of lots sell to bidders on the internet. This is fast becoming one of the favoured methods of buying.
We start with this scarce Third Reich Knights Cross of the Iron Cross presentation document on vellum to (Oberstleutnant) Joachim Friedrich Huth, later Generalleutnant, dated 11th September 1940 (a German Battle of Britain pilot), in its red leather covered folder with gold blocked eagle and swastika.
A famous photograph shows Douglas Bader sitting in the cockpit of an Me 109 after his capture, with a group of Luftwaffe officers looking up at him, and Huth apparently pointing a pistol at Bader. The ‘pistol’ was in fact the handle of Huth’s walking stick!
Huth’s entry in ‘Die Ritterkreuztrager der Luftwaffe’ by Ernst Obermaier reads: ‘Fighter pilot in WWI. Led several fighter and destroyer Gruppen during the Luftwaffe’s build up and became Kommodore ZG26 in January 1940. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross for his Geschwader’s great successes during the French campaign and the Battle of Britain. Became Jafu 2 in 1941, then Kommandeur of the 1st Fighter Division until December 1943, 7. Jagddivision until November 1944 and I. Jagdkorps. Died on 27.3.1962’.
The document was in very good condition, the folder slightly scuffed. With a ‘Letter of Guarantee’ from Adrian Forman, dated 1990. It sold in the room, against fierce foreign telephone bidding, for £8000,
Now we have this officer’s gilt and silver plated bearskin grenade badge of The 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers), circa 1840, St George and the Dragon in the centre over a small ‘V’ with a wreath bearing battle honour scrolls to ‘Wilhemtahl’. It had three-lug fastening and was in very good condition. Two internet bidders were determined to buy it and it finally sold for £1900. Here is an 1843-55 officer’s rectangular gilt shoulder belt plate of The 49th (the Princess Charlotte of Wales’s or Hertfordshire) Regiment, frosted with silvered edges, bearing ‘49’ and Union Wreath in title circle and crowned wreath with battle honours, the Dragon of China (awarded 1843) below, with original leather lining. It was in very good condition and went to an internet bidder for £900.
This gilt and silver plated star centre was from an 1829 (Bell Topped) shako plate of The 32nd (Cornwall) Regiment. It had battle honours ‘Peninsula’ and ‘Waterloo’ above and below the centre and eight further honours on the rays of the star, with brooch pin fitting. In very good condition it sold to an internet bidder for £750.
We often sell tribal pieces and here is a two-tone wooden presentation knobkerry from the most famous British victory in the Zulu Wars, the Battle of Rorke’s Drift. It had a slightly flattened head with applied silver shield engraved ‘Zulu Club. Given by Mr. G. Edwards Pte. 24th Regt’. It was 26 inches long and went to an internet bidder for £2100.
Moving on to edged weapons we have this scarce 1st pattern FS fighting knife, the blade with ‘Wilkinson Sword’ on one side and ‘The F-S Fighting Knife’ on the other, with plated hilt, in its leather sheath with belt loop, retaining strap with press stud, and plated chape. The back of the belt loop has written in ink ‘8th Army, S/Maj Colley’ (the vendor’s father in law). It was in very good condition, retaining most original plating and sold for £1100.
This shows a George IV officer’s mameluke sword of The 15th (or the King’s) Light Dragoons (Hussars). The curved, blade 31½-inches long, by Andrews, 9 Pall Mall, London (the style the firm used between 1821-1825). It was etched on both sides with a crown in sunburst and ‘King’s Hussars’, in panels. It had copper gilt (some rubbing) crossguard and langets and engraved ivory grips with floral studs (one missing), gilt knot (some wear) in its fine sheath engraved panelled scabbard, with darkened sharkskin backing, and floral embossed ring mounts, and retaining some original gilt. There were minor dark pitting patches to the lower part of blade and it sold for £1650.
Here we have a good rare volunteer heavy cavalry officer’s sword, circa 1796, the most unusual broad multi-fullered single edged straight blade 36 inches long, with Bowie-type clipped back point, retaining most original polish. It had a steel semi-basket guard, partly pierced and chiselled with scrolls, similar to the 1796 heavy cavalry officer’s undress pattern. Wire bound fishskincovered grip, original wash-leather liner, in its steel scabbard with rounded shoe. It was in very good condition for its age and there was heavy bidding before finally being knocked down to one of the many telephone bidders for £2500.
As was the fashion at the time, this swept hilt rapier circa 1600 had a particularly long diamond section blade of 47 inches, and was probably made in Malta. The ricasso was struck on each side with a large Maltese Cross mark, the fullers stamped ‘In Te Domine Speravit’. It was in good condition and sold for £1750.
Now we move on to firearms with this good six-shot .41 inch centre fire Colt Model 1877 ‘Thunderer’ double action revolver, number 152494 (1904), barrel 4½ inches, with Hartford address and stamped ‘Colt D.A.41’ on the left side, the frame with patent dates and rampant colt, checkered black hard rubber grips. It was in clean condition, retaining approximately 50% of original blueing and much colour hardened finish. It sold in the room for £1200.
Here we have an officer’s 14 bore flintlock pistol, with provision for carbine stock, by Harcourt of Ipswich, circa 1820, 15¾’ overall, sighted octagonal twist barrel deeply rifled with seven grooves, and with single gold line at breech and platinum touch hole. The top flat engraved ‘Harcourt Ipswich’. The signed flat bolted lock engraved with border and sunburst, rainproof pan and roller on frizzen spring; nicely figured walnut halfstock with horn fore end cap and deeply chequered butt with steel top trap for attachment of carbine stock, large steel trigger guard engraved with trophy and with pineapple finial. The barrel had been well rebrowned and it went to a commission bidder for £1900.
This shows a fine silvermounted double barrelled side by side 60 bore cannon barrelled flintlock boxlock pistol by I. Parr, hallmarked 1776, 11 inches overall, with turn off barrels, the octagonal breeches with Tower private proofs, left hand barrel and breech numbered ‘1’; with engraved signed frame, single ring neck cock, frizzen and trigger, left hand pan with sliding cover operated by thumb catch on the frame. The polished walnut butt was inlaid with silver wire scrolls and wavy borders, and with silver butt cap embossed with lion and castle within scrolls, and bearing Birmingham hall marks for 1776 and maker’s mark of Charles Freeth, the oval silver escutcheon engraved with monogram. It was in good clean condition and went in the room for £4000.
A good .45 inch Enfield pattern three-band prize target rifle (top). The 37 inch barrel with hexagonal rifling, the breech with London proofs, stamped ‘Kerr’s Patent’, ‘Regis’d ...May 61’ in very small oval, and engraved ‘442’ just behind the inclined ladder rearsight; lock with engraved beaded border and stamped with crowned VR and ‘1862 L.A.Co’. The walnut stock with circular silver plaque engraved ‘12th Surrey Rifles/ Battalion Match/ First Prize/ Won by/ Lieut F Could/ Octr.1st/ 1862’. It was in very good working order and condition and sold for £1300.
A 14 bore percussion big game rifle (bottom image), the 30 inch octagonal twist barrel with folding leaf rearsight and engraved ‘G E Walker, Newbury, late with J. Purdey, 314½ Oxford St, London’, the breech with two platinum lines and engraved with a stag’s head, the scroll engraved tang with vignette of a tiger’s head. The large trigger guard contained a single set trigger, It was in good condition, the barrel having been well rebrowned, the mounts have been pitted and refinished. It went for £1500.
Here we have this double barrelled 16 bore hammer gun by J. Purdey, number 8717, with second-type Purdey snap underlever opening, 43 inches overall, the 27 inch damascus barrels had London proofs for 15 bore and later nitro proofs, the rib was engraved ‘J Purdey, 314½ Oxford Street, London’. It had a nicely figured walnut halfstock with checkered forend and pistol grip, the former retained by barrel wedge, butt with cheekpiece and provision for sling swivel.
It was in very good condition, locks retaining traces of colour hardened finish. Purdey have confirmed that this gun was made for Mr F Lovell in 1872. It went to an internet bidder for £4250. This illustrates a de-activated 9mm P08 long barrelled ‘Artillery’ Luger, number 6273 on all parts, with ‘DWM’ on the toggle and traces of 1917 at the breech. It was in good working order and condition, with deactivation certificate, the original deactivation proof mark was for 1994, but it had been restamped 2015. It sold for £1300.
Here we have a rare deactivated WWII .32 inch ACP Mark II Welrod Special Forces silenced pistol, number 3817, with rubber grip containing 8-shot magazine. It could be cocked but not fired; with 2015 dated deactivation certificate. The Welrod was used primarily by the SOE, but also by the American OSS and the Danish resistance. The later 9mm version is reported to have been used in the 1982 Falklands War, in Northern Ireland, and operation Desert Storm in 1991. It sold for £1750.
Here we have a scarce .303 inch SMLE Mk V bolt action rifle (top image), number A2420, with wide ladder aperture rearsight, the frame stamped with crown over ‘GR/ Enfield/ 1924/ Sht. LE/ V’, the butt with filled regimental disc cut out. It had slight wear, some of the metalwork with congealed grease. A number of Mk Vs were made for trial by troops, but it proved unsatisfactory and the weapon was never officially introduced in the British Service. It was eventually abandoned for a new design, which became the Mk VI. It went for £1250.
902 Finally is this .303 inch No 4 Mk I* Long Branch Sniper Rifle (lower image), number 36L5033, the frame marked ‘No 4 Mk I*/ Long Branch/ 1943’, the butt with added cheek rest; with its correct No 32 Mk I sniper sight, number 6339, dated 1941, the rifle butt also stamped ‘6339’ behind the frame, and with Canadian Government mark on the underside; with recent Nitro Proofs. It was in good working order and condition. It came in its wooden crate, the side stencilled ‘Chest S.A. No 15 Mk I’, the lid stencilled with rifle and sight serial numbers, containing leather sling and original steel No 8 Mark I case for the sight, dated 1941, the lid also painted with the rifle and sight serial numbers, containing adjusting tool and leather lens-covers. It went for £2050.
A revolver owned by the man considered by shooting experts to be the greatest crack shot of all time, Waltern Winans (1852-1920) will be sold at Bonhams next Sporting Gun Sale in Knightsbridge on December 2nd. His revolver is estimated to sell for £2000 to £3000 at the Bonhams sale in December.
This fascinating weapon is the fine .450 ‘Model 3’ revolver by Smith & Wesson once owned by the American marksman, Walter Winans who represented the USA at the 1908 Olympic Games in which he won Gold in the double-shot deer-running event. In this highly skilled shooting is required with competitors shooting twice at a deer-shaped target that moved 75 feet in four seconds at a distance of 110 yards.
Winans ability with a gun was not limited to the Olympic Games. He achieved the reputation as the greatest pistol shot of his generation with some amazing feats of marksmanship. He was able to snuff out a candle with one shot, hit the bullseye of a reversed target three times in a row and cut a playing card in half, firing at it side on. He played polo with a rifle, keeping the ball moving smartly with each shot.
Patrick Hawes, Director of Bonhams Sporting Guns Department, comments: “This weapon is remarkable because of its previous owner. Whoever buys it in December will own a piece of history.”
For more information please contact Julian Roup at Julian.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07970 563 958.