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A quartet of Churchill shotguns – £16,000 at Holts on December 10.

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For the first time the firm staged one of its biannual prestige sales ‘at home’ in its own premises in the charmingly rural setting of Wolferton on the fringes of the Sandringham Estate in north Norfolk.

Previously these sales had been staged in specially rented venues in London. Though these events were popular gatherings for arms collectors and dealers, the logistics and security issues surrounding them were considerable.

Good numbers

As it turned out, this first home fixture attracted good numbers to both view and sale, with internet bidding easing the way for those who could not attend in person.

Of the 723 lots offered, 504 were sold for a total of £801,000, with UK buyers accounting for £360,000 of that figure and US buyers for £120,000.

Sporting guns accounted for the top prices with a Purdey double rifle taking £25,000 and a quartet of matching Churchill 12-bore side-by-side shotguns sold for £16,000.