The work of John Manton in 1798, the guns had all the luxurious appointments a wealthy Georgian buck would expect – gold-lined breech and touch holes, star burst and floral engravings – and came with all accessories.
The pistols were contained in a relined Joseph Manton mahogany case with a later John Manton trade label. They went within estimate to a UK collector at £16,000.
Joseph featured in another cased pair of duelling pistols catalogued as by ‘Thomas Reynolds out of Joseph Manton’ and engraved Reynolds to the 8.5in (22cm) octagonal damascus barrels and to the bolted locks.
While Manton was recognised as England’s greatest gunsmith – and went bankrupt and to jail in 1828-29 – Reynolds remains an obscure name.
Tony Cribb said: “I assumed he must have had some kind of apprenticeship or work position with Manton. Possibly when Manton was imprisoned he left stock available to purchase through a former employee.”
The 22-bore pistols, with gold line breeches set with a gold maker’s tablet, came complete with accessories but, said Cribb: “The quality really wasn’t up to Manton’s standards.”
Against a £3000-4000 estimate, they went to a UK collector at £4200.