Spectacular Cased Pair of Superb Quality French Percussion Target Pistols With Magnificent Carved Ivory Stocks and and Carved Ivory Accessories by HL (Henri Lepage?) Circa 1850 Ex: Norm Flayderman”s Private Collection the Whole in Pristine Condition Throughout

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August 29, 2023

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Spectacular Cased Pair of Superb Quality French Percussion Target Pistols With Magnificent Carved Ivory Stocks and and Carved Ivory Accessories by HL (Henri Lepage?) Circa 1850 Ex: Norm Flayderman”s Private Collection the Whole in Pristine Condition Throughout

Cal. 48 (pr.)
S# NSN (pr)

The 10 inch swamped octagonal barrels are inlaid in gold in a reserve “Damas Superfin” (Superior Fine Damascus), the incredible pattern welded barrels are finished to display a looped and intertwined silver finish on a black background. The beauty of this treatment is further emphasized by inlaid blue steel bands with gold line and saw tooth borders which outline floral and feather motifs around central ovals portraying mythological elongated necked birds. The bolted oval back-action locks are masterfully engraved with sprays of ancathus and coiled sea monsters. The arched rounded hammers are are relief carved as dolphin heads. The trigger plates are fitted with  nitre blued set triggers, Trigger guard finials are engraved with feathery scrolls surrounding owls. The trigger guard bows are engraved with four quail. The beautifully patinated ivory stocks have superb form and the butts  are carved in high relief with lion’s heads accented with ebony bands, The fore-ends are carved into shells. Solid gold shield thumb-pieces are vacant. Blued steel side-plates are finely engraved with scrolls and heads of fantastic beasts. Barrels are attached by wedges held through engraved gold escutcheons. The pistols are cased in their original French fitted brass bound rosewood case with four point key closure. Two brass strips are inlaid inside the outer frame and the lid has a brass central medallion inlaid and engraved with floral and scroll decorations surrounding a unadorned oval reserve.

The accessories are of exemplary exhibition quality throughout the steel plug wrench, main spring vise, elaborate wad cutter, lead ladle handle, and bullet mold with articulating wad cutter are of mirror bright polished steel. The ivory mallet with its carved writhen handle is a work of the carver’s art in itself. The matching turn screw is carved ensuite with the mallet.

Three ivory loading rods are also carved ensuite with the mallet and turn screw one with an integral gilded powder measure. The powder flask is gilded and decorated in a checkered pattern with plunger spout and maker’s initials “B.aP.” The oil bottle is chiseled with a gilt surround. An circular ivory box contains a vent pick, brush, and worm all with gilt accents completing one of the highest quality set of accessories seen in a cased set of percussion pistols. Most ivory stocked pistols were flintlocks made in Maastricht during the late 17th and early 18th centuries with a few made in Liege.

Few if any pistols were stocked in ivory from the second quarter of the 18th century until the second quarter of the 19th. Ivory stocked pistols remained of extreme rarity with the few existing examples made in France during the 1830’s to the 1850’s. All cased sets of ivory stocked pistols are of the greatest rarity representing a luxuriousness not seen even in many of the great exhibition sets made for the Exposition Universelle and others.

These pistols were treasured by Norm Flayderman and remained in his personal collection until offered together with his prized Scottish regalia set which is pictured his advertisement in the 1971 Texas Gun Collector’s Annual until March of 1992 when the ivory pistols and his Scottish regalia set were offered at Butterfield & Butterfield as lots 4063 and 4064 respectively in the catalog of the Warren Anderson collection. A copy of the catalog is included.

CONDITIONThe pistols are in pristine unfired condition retaining nearly all of their original finish. Trigger-guard tangs with minor flaking to the blue. The ivory stocks with lovely nearly two century patination have very minor and expected stress checks on pistol number 2 and a 1/2 inch tight crack on pistol number 1 from right side of the tang to the lock. These not only do not detract but only add to the authenticity and character of the pistols. Bores feature  microgroove rifling and are mirror bright, Actions are crisp as new. The rear leaf of the sight of pistol number one is absent. The case retains nearly all of its original French polish finish with expected surface scratches. The Royal blue velvet interior is very fine and bordered with gold piping. The overall effect of the ivory and accessories , the brightly polished steel accessories, the incredible Damascus steel barrels, set off by the Royal blue velvet interior is striking and doubtless why perhaps the greatest of all American dealers in arms and armor, Norm Flayderman, kept them in his personal collection.

Whomever is the buyer of this magnificent cased set will acquire a 19th century French high art masterpiece.


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