Premier Fine Art & Antiques Auction
August 29, 2023
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SCARCE PAIR OF JAMES PURDEY PERCUSSION TARGET PISTOLS
01-21240 & 01-21241
S# 2087 & 2088
James Purdey built a wide array of different types of pistols during his early years. Total pistol production was under 400 units. This pair of best quality target pistols (the only difference between a target pistol & a dueling pistol is the target) was made in 1833 & is listed as being sold to Joseph Lang, Purdey’s son in law, who received many of Purdey’s rifles, guns & pistols at this time to sell at a discount through his 7 Haymarket address.
These pistols have 10″ octagon twist bbls. without underribs, which are engraved “I. PURDEY No 314 1/2 OXFORD STREET LONDON.” on top flats. Bottoms of bbls. are stamped with serial numbers, London proofs, and “JP”. Front sight is a small bead dovetailed through. Rear portions of bbls. are engraved “1” & “2”. Breach plugs have vented platinum blowouts & platinum lines at rear & are fitted with windage adjustable U-notch rear sights. Serial numbers are stamped on back of hooks. Breech irons are engraved with full coverage well cut shaded scroll along with the numbers “1” & “2”. Front spring locks with flat plates are fitted with flat chamferred slightly serpentine hammers with dolphin heads. Locks & hammers are engraved with about 30% coverage well cut open scroll within line borders. “PURDEY” is at front portion of each lockplate. Locks are also fitted with backsliding safeties. Trigger plates with stylized pineapple finials have body of pineapple engraved in shell motif unique to Purdey at this time. Triggers, with blued fingerblades, are set. Charcoal blued trigger guards are engraved with armorial designs. Stocks with flared checkered grips are of ebonized walnut, and are fitted with steel mounts, including large case hardened grip caps & forend tips without provision for ramrods. Rectangular silver crestplates with cut corners are at tops of grips & stocks attach to bbls. with captive side bolts through oval silver escutcheons.
UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: pistols are housed in their original figured mahogany case with dual pivoting hook closure & keyhole with brass escutcheon. Top is fitted with small circular brass D-ring folding handle with central medallion. Interior is lined in green cloth & has Purdey blue printed 314 1/2 Oxford Street label in lid. Case contains a fair number of accessories which appear to be original, including steel “Improved” number 38 round ball mold stamped “W.D” (William Davis) & serial number “2088”. Other accessories include rectangular copper bodied powder flask, ebony loading mallet with jag on end of handle, ebony & brass loading rod, ebony handled nipple wrench, small turnscrew, & a nipple cleaning jag. Other compartments hold a small unmarked German silver capper, brass powder measure, and an unmarked wad punch. There are two covered compartments with bone knobs, one containing balls, the other patches.