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It is one of the intriguing items for sale at the Kempton Vintage & Classic Arms Fair on Sunday, June 30, at Kempton Park Racecourse in Surrey.

The pistol is priced at £3500 at the event with arms and armour specialist Dominic Vincent of the Garth Vincent dealership.

He said: “These pistols are extremely rare. There is a pair in the National Museum in Falmouth and one went through Christie’s in 2000 as part of Keith Neal’s collection. They fall into both the military collectors’ and Post Office collectors’ fields and although a plain pistol, they evoke images of piracy and battles on the high seas.”

Weapons were not only used on the roads to protect the post. Overseas mail was carried by packet ships, small fast vessels, which like their crews were well armed. Falmouth was appointed the Royal Mail packet station.

The Kempton Park event is held four times a year. Organiser Peter Binfield said: “We have 86 exhibitors at this fair with 200 tables offering everything from cap badges to cannon. Even though 11 regular traders are unable to attend, we still have a small waiting list.”