Gavin Gardiner Ltd. to sell guns built for HRH Prince Albert as a gift from Queen Victoria

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Gavin Gardiner Ltd. to sell guns built for HRH Prince Albert as a gift from Queen Victoria
Estimated to fetch £30,000-40,000, the guns were built in 1850 and are signed “Charles Lancaster, 151 New Bond Street, London.”

LONDON.- A fine pair of 14-bore percussion guns by Charles Lancaster that were built for HRH Prince Albert as a gift from Queen Victoria, and are the only known examples outside the Royal Collection, will be offered in Gavin Gardiner Ltd’s live/ online auction of Modern & Vintage Sporting Guns on Monday, September 6, 2021 at 10.30am. The sale will take place online and bidding is available via

Estimated to fetch £30,000-40,000, the guns were built in 1850 and are signed “Charles Lancaster, 151 New Bond Street, London.” HRH Prince Albert was a regular customer of Charles Lancaster; he ordered his first pair of 15-bore guns in 1843 and the company received the Royal Warrant later the same year.

Gavin Gardiner notes: “These are a superb pair of 14-bore Percussion sporting guns, by Charles Lancaster, and were a gift to the Prince Consort from his wife in 1850. Albert was a keen shot and Charles Lancaster was one of London’s leading gunmakers at the time, and received their Royal Warrant in 1843. Albert continued using Lancaster guns until his death in 1861, and in line with his fascination for science and industry, had only the previously year received a pair of new Breach loading guns from Lancaster, becoming one of the first men in the land to own a pair of modern breech loading shotguns. We are offering these on behalf of a deceased collector and they are the only pair of Prince Albert-owned guns outside of the Royal Collection.”

Elsewhere in the sale, which includes over 250 lots, will be a good selection of sporting rifles, guncases and shooting accessories. Other notable highlights include a fine pair of Preater engraved Holland & Holland 12-bore Royal Deluxe self opening sidelock ejector guns, built in 1975. The guns with 28-inch barrels and 2 3/4-inch chambers, are engraved with fine game scenes within bold deluxe engraving, and are typical of the deluxe series of guns that this engraver is renowned for. Ken Preater worked almost exclusively for Holland & Holland since apprenticing as an engraver in the 1950s. Specialising in game scenes and bold scrollwork, he soon became Holland & Holland's chief engraver and was responsible for much of the work on the Products of Excellence Series and many of the unique commissions that Holland & Holland undertook in the 1970s and 1980s. The guns are estimated at £30,000 - 40,000.

Guns with an interesting provenance include a scarce Russian 12-bore over and under nonejector gun built in 1961 by Molot, that was presented to President Khrushchev by the Thankful workers of the Vyatskie Polyany Molot combinat (estimate: £300-500); while a fine pair of 12-bore sidelock ejector guns by John Blanch and Sons, which were built circa 1905 for Arthur Brampton (1865-1913); a wealthy Edwardian stockbroker and keen sportsman. The guns are of Blanch’s highest quality and the undoubtedly engraved by the great Harry Kell. Estimated at £12,000- 18,000, they are accompanied by two oak and leather cartridge magazines by James Purdey & Sons plus a large photographic album – the cases are named and addressed to Arthur Brampton, The Chantry, Elstree. Also of note is a matched pair of 12-bore sidelock ejector guns by Joseph Lang & Son, that were built for Gilbert William Lloyd Darwin – a descendant of Charles Darwin (£6,000-8,000); and an action, stock and fore-end of a 12-bore patent bar-in-wood hammer gun by Westley Richards, that was built for Sir George Wombwell – a survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade carries an estimate of £300-500.

Also of note are a several extremely fine examples by highly sought-after London gunmakers’ James Purdey & Sons. A pair of 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector guns, that were built in 1993 and have a current replacement cost in excess of £330,000 carry an estimate of £50,000- 60,000; while a 12-bore single trigger sidelock ejector over and under gun, built in 1993, which seem virtually unused and the maker is currently quoting in excess of £165,000 for a new gun of this specification, is also expected to fetch £50,000-60,000.

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