Consigned to the Cockermouth October 6-8 sale by Cumbrian conservationist, traveller and author Dave Hill, it was chased by four phone bidders and online rivals before selling to a UK private buyer at a triple-estimate £4100.
Also contributing to the 1480-lot sale’s £122,000 total was the sort of gun needed to fell such a magnificent animal: a very rare Duval-MacNaughton Martini Henry action rifle.
It was designed by Joseph Duval of Quebec and made by leading mid/late 19th century gunsmith James MacNaughton of Edinburgh, whose firm was taken over in 1947 by neighbour John Dickson & Son. Fully marked, the 3ft 8½in (1.13m) long overall rifle appears to have had a short production run.
“No one I have spoken to has seen this rifle before and the only ones I could find were two held at the Royal Armouries,” said auctioneer James Moore, who has been holding these specialist sales for 10 years.
With no public sales for comparison, the rifle was given a come-buy estimate of £500-800 but, targeted by online and phone bidders, it went to a dealer/ collector in the room at £3500.