A fine pair of 12-bore self-opening ejector guns sidelock ejector guns by prestigious London gunmaker James Purdey & Sons highlighted Gavin Gardiner Ltd’s Live/Online Auction of Modern& Vintage Sporting Guns on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Realising £37,500, the gunswere decorated with bouquet and scroll engraving and retained all of their original bright finish.The maker confirms that the guns were built in 1980 and have recently been inspected and overhauled by them. They were bought by a UK Private Buyer against an estimate of £30,000 –35,000 [lot 87].
Also selling for £37,500 was a pair of 12-bore single trigger sidelock ejector guns by Londongunmaker Boss & Co. The makers’ records confirm that the guns were built circa 1928 and hadbeen rebarreled and restocked by Boss & Co in 2006 and fitted in to their current case. Boughtby a Private Buyer in the USA, they had been estimated at £18,000 – 24,000 [lot 89].Auctioneer and Expert in Charge, Gavin Gardiner, commented: “The sale had strong International bidding and attracted a record number of condition report requests before the
auction. The live online format has been a great success and allows increased participation by our clients, and their confidence in our condition reports is reflected in the sale results. Over 80% of lots were sold on the day with many lots exceeding their published estimates.”
a fine pair of 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector guns by Symes & Wright sold for £31,250
Also of note in the sale was a fine pair of 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector guns by Symes & Wright which sold for £31,250 to a UK Private Buyer against an estimate of £25,000-35,000. The guns were completed in 1992 and appear little used. Symes & Wright were formed as a gunmaker in London in 1987. Both Peter Symes and Alex Wright had previously worked for James Purdey & Sons and decided to set up business on their own [lot 83].
Two examples by William & Son achieved strong prices. A pair of 20-bore round body single trigger over and under ejector guns, decorated with bold foliate scroll engraving against a stippled ground and signed by the engraver “Peter Cusack” with the maker’s name signed in gold, sold for £30,000, against an estimate of £20,000-30,000. They appeared new and unused and were purchased by a member of the UK trade [lot 185] A single 20-bore sold for £17,500 against an estimate of £10,000-15,000 to a Private collector in the USA [lot 184].
Elsewhere, an exceptional 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector gun by James Purdey & Sons, built in 1922 – the heyday of British gunmaking, was sold in aid of the Gunmakers’ Charitable Trust for £17,500. 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 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. It had been estimated at £14,000-18,000 and was
bought by European Private Buyer [lot 93].
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