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The balls were hand blown in a mould (hence the jagged neck caused by breaking the ball away from the blowpipe after the glass had cooled) and, although harder to break than clays, the addition of geometric patterns lessened the likelihood of any shot glancing or ricocheting off the target. Among the more novel creations was Ira Paine's feather-filled ball. Paine, an American, was a great shooter of his day and, when shattered mid-air, his target balls containing feathers or powder gave the illusion of a bird being hit.

Three of these, carrying the moulded inscription Ira Paine's Filled Ball Patent October 23 1877, were offered by the Birmingham specialists Weller & Dufty (15% buyer's premium) on May 5.

In their day plain glass balls were usually sold for $1 per hundred and embossed balls at $1.25 per hundred but by virtue of their fragile manufacture and their purpose, very few have survived intact. This trio sold at £320.

The top price of the sale was the £3000 paid for a 54-bore William Tranter patent 4th model percussion pistol, a good example (Grade 2-plus) retaining most of its blue finish and offered in its original mahogany case with a Wilkinson & Son, Pall Mall retailer's label and accessories including a Dixon powder flask.