Bonhams Arms & Armor auction highlighted by U.S. three pounder gun

An iron three pounder gun with attribution to the Siege of Yorktown in 1781 led Bonhams $937,971 Antique Arms and Armor and Sporting Guns auction, June 10 in San Francisco. This top lot, from the renowned U.S. Cartridge Company Collection (and prior to that, the first important American arms collection, the A.E. Brooks Collection) achieved $29,250. Also from the collection, a British iron carronade swivel gun with attribution to the Revolutionary War sold well, bringing $21,060.

The 500-plus lot sale attracted a large crowd of bidders in the auction room, over the phones and online whose focus spanned the sale’s offerings of militaria; 18th and 19th century American and European firearms; fine sporting guns; and 16th through early 20th century armor edged weapons and pole arms.

Antique pistols and revolvers of historical significance performed especially well in the sale. Shooting past their estimates to all bring $16,380 were a scarce Russian Colt brevette percussion revolver by Ivan Norman, Tula Arsenal (est. $2,000-3,000); a scarce Russian Colt’s Patent percussion revolver with inscription from the Caucasus campaign (est. $3,000-5,000); and a fine German percussion rifle by W. Pfeuffer of Stuttgart, circa 1830 (est. $5,000-8,000). Also ahead of its estimate, a historic inscribed French Model An XIII flintlock cavalry pistol used at the Battle of Waterloo brought $15,210 (est. $3,000-5,000). A pair of percussion conversion pistols, cased with accessories and removable shoulder stock, signed Boutet, Directeur Artiste A Versailles, brought $29,250, and a fine cased pair of mid-19th century French percussion pistols by Devisme brought $22,230.

Sporting guns that sold well in the sale included a rare 12 gage AAHE Grade Parker Brothers boxlock shotgun that achieved $23,400; a fine engraved and gold-inlaid 16 gage German double barrel hammer gun, for Jacob Sackreuter of Frankfurt, fourth quarter of the 19th century, that brought $19,890 (est. $10,000-15,000); a cased 20 gage Gino Cargnel engraved and gold inlaid Winchester Model 21 boxlock shotgun two barrel set that brought $11,700; a cased 12 gage Winston Churchill engraved and gold inlaid Remington Model 32 Skeet over/under two barrel set that brought $12,870; and a .500 caliber black powder English underlever double rifle by Holland & Holland that took in $11,700 (est. 5,000-8,000).

As evidenced by the auction, the market for swords and edged weapons appears very strong. From that portion of the sale came such highlights as a basket-hilted Scottish broadsword with signed hilt, probably by John Allan the elder, first quarter of the 18th century, that achieved $7,020 (est. $2,000-4,000); a Scottish baskethilted back sword, first half of the 18th century, that brought $4,914 (est. $2,000-3,000); and a fine gilt brass-hilted officer’s sword that sold for $4,914 (est. $2,000-4,000). Also of note, a fine silver mounted naval dirk, probably American, realized $4,680 (est. $1,500-2,500); a silver-mounted Victorian officer’s dirk for the Argyllshire Highlandersby Parfitt, Roberts & Parfitt, brought $5,616 (est. $2,500-3,500); a Victorian officer’s dirk for the Highland Light Infantry by Henry Wilkinson, circa 1883-1900, took in $4,680 (est. $2,500-3,500); a fine Victorian set of silver-mounted Scottish regalia by MacKay & Chisholm, Edinburgh, hallmarked for 1883/84, brought $4,914; and a composite full suit of German armor for the field, 16th century and later, achieved $11,700.