Holt’s Auctioneers are selling this rare, mid-Eighteenth century 40-bore pneumatic airgun in their London sale on 19th March, 2015 – and the estimate is set between five seven thousand quid!
Made by Wentzlau around 1740, the piece is disguised as a flintlock sporting rifle. Why the disguise? Well, Holt’s Auctioneers’ airgun expert and valuer Robert Morgan, says: “Such pieces are branded as the guns of assassins and poachers, and besides being highly unusual, they’re also very rare. To be honest, this Wentzlau is the most exciting airgun I’ve ever seen since working at Holt’s.”
The piece features a octagonal swamped 32.5in barrel, dovetailed foresight, engraved and blued rearsight, the breech-end engraved with a romanesque bust upon a stand, false touch-hole, engraved separate top tang, flat bevel-edged gamescene engraved lockplate signed ‘WENTZLAU A EHRENBREITSTEIN’ over ‘NR190’, scroll-engraved hammer and frizzen, walnut full-stock with over-size butt covering a Girandoni-style air-reservoir with filling valve concealed under a trap-door in the heel-plate, floral carved borders around the top-tang and raised cheek-piece, further carving around the trigger-guard finial and along the fore-end, all the furniture of brass and scroll engraved, double-set trigger, the trigger-guard bow with raised faceted finger-tang, the sideplate with game-scene and pierced, swinging side-safety and engraved and faceted ramrod pipes with horn-tipped wood ramrod.
All in all, a very fine piece indeed for any airgun collector to get in his collection. More info about the sale here.