PAIR OF NICELY ENGRAVED PERCUSSION PISTOLS CA 1850 BY WILLIAMSON AND POWELL, LIVERPOOL

$2,750.00

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Item Code: 490-2593

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These .64 cal. single shot percussion pistols are typical of those purchased in pairs for self-defense while travelling or stepping out and date about 1850 or a tad earlier. The use of swivel ramrods, to avoid losing the ramrod while reloading, tends to remove them from the class of overcoat or dueling pistols, but suits someone travelling by coach or horseback. These are very nicely made, using bag-shaped grips with checkered panels both for decoration and a better grip, and small oval escutcheon plates. The 7” octagonal barrels are secured by two wedges with escutcheon plates and are left plain forward, except for the maker’s address, but blued in a faux-damascus pattern. The top and upper side flats of the barrel, however, were engraved with beautiful foliate scrolls at the breech, with border lines, and the scrolls are repeated on the breech plug and tang, with the tang screw head given a flower design and the top flat of the breech plug at the barrel engraved with a very pretty, classical shell/fan.

The scroll motifs are continued in the engraving of the flat sides of the hammer (which has a checkered thumbpiece and cursory dolphin engraving forward) and the bolster has a simple flower. The back-action lock plates have borders similar to those on the barrel breeches and are filled with foliate scrolls matching the breeches and breech plugs. The simple round trigger bows have simple scrolls on the bottom and the forward tangs have a version of the classical pineapple shape with a pointed finial, engraved with geometric and floral designs mirrored in the tail of the rammer entry pipe.

All the engraving on these pistols is crisp. As is usually the case, one of the pair shows a little more use than the other, the owner not always needing two pistols with him, one barrel showing stronger color, though still muted, than the other, which shows some gray on the top rear and a few thin darker gray spots toward the breech. The wood is very good on both, showing nice color and a tight fit. There are a few minor handling marks, but only one small check in the checkering of one grip along the left of the triggerguard rear tang and two very tiny dings next to the breech plug tang of the pistol with better barrel color.

The barrels are engraved “Liverpool” and the lock plates are engraved “Williams & Powell.” The firm advertised as dating to 1780, but in Liverpool seems to date to 1833, when they bought out the old business of Edward and James Patrick. The partnership actually ended in 1846, but the firm continued under that name, even after being bought by Westley Richards in 1905. They are well known for their shotguns and they are respected for the quality of the arms by collectors and in the 1870s were appointed Gunmakers to HRH the Duke of Gloucester.

This is a very pretty pair of pistols.  [sr] [ph:m]

DISCLAIMER: All firearms are sold as collector's items only - we do not accept responsibility as to the shooting safety or reliability of any antique firearm. All firearms are described as accurately as possible, given the restraints of a catalog listing length. We want satisfied customers & often "under" describe the weapons. Any city or state regulations regarding owning antique firearms are the responsibility of the purchaser. All firearms are "mechanically perfect" unless noted, but again, are NOT warranted as safe to fire.

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