Top lot at Bonhams in San Francisco on June 19 was this cased example of a specially engraved Colt 1851 percussion revolver with shoulder stock sold for $75,000 (£57,485).

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

With London marks throughout, it was accompanied by a wide range of accessories including an English-style powder flask, tins of Eley percussion caps and a packet of six Colt skin cartridges. Skin cartridges were paper-wrapped charges for quick reloading before the advent of metal cartridge cases and primers combined as now.

The gun and case were made for presentation but apparently never presented, so the presentation cartouches are left empty.

This is a much-published revolver and in a recent book the fine engraving, which had previously been attributed to Gustave Young, was reattributed to George H Sterzing. It sold for $75,000 (£57,485).

Specially engraved Colt 1851 percussion revolver – $75,000 (£57,485) at Bonhams in San Francisco.

Deer deliverer


Multi-barrelled volley gun by London gunsmith Henry Nock which sold for £12,000 at Bonhams.

The multi-barrelled volley guns developed by London gunsmith Henry Nock were favoured by some sportsmen in pursuit of deer.

They were also obviously suited to close-combat situations and a batch of 100 of the 32-bore seven-barrelled model shown here were ordered by the Naval Depot at Chatham in 1787 at a cost of £13 each. This example sold at Bonhams (25/12.5% buyer’s premium) in London on May 23 at £12,000.

Manton in the mix


Manton double-barrelled 15-bore shotgun which made £15,000 at Bonhams.

By far the rarest of the sporting guns sold by Bonhams in London on May 23 was this Manton double-barrelled 15-bore shotgun which spans two eras of firearm design. Made c.1840, it is both a flintlock and a percussion gun.

The flintlock ignition system, which had by that time been trusted for two centuries, could be swapped to the new percussion cap system by simply turning a screw and swivelling the powder pan to expose a percussion nipple. The cock was cleverly designed to incorporate a hammer beneath the flintlock for use with a cap.

It sold for £15,000.