Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cased Dueling Pistols from "Booth - Philadelphia

Cal. .575 Bore diameter. This high quality pair of dueling pistols, retailed by William Booth (working at 85 South Front Street, Philadelphia, 1799-1818), have been converted from flint to percussion with the addition of shaped drums and nipples. Ten inch swamped octagon bbls have inset oval gold poincon at breech marked "Booth Philadelphia". Upper left bbl flats are stamped with London gunmakers proofs. Gold band is inlaid at rear of bbls. Breech irons have stand-of-arms and scroll engraving with rear sights filed in. Very nicely chamfered locks with rebated pointed tails have rear sliding safety bolts. "Booth" is engraved on lockplates in front of flat-faced line engraved chamfered percussion hammers. Most of flint fences remain on plates and act as flash guards. Trigger plates have stylized pineapple finials and are fitted with set triggers. Spurred trigger guards are engraved with stand-of-arms on bow. Dark European walnut stocks with rounded checkered grips have chamfered sides. Stocks extend to muzzles and attach to bbls with two steel side nails. Horn tipped hickory ramrods mount through beaded pipe and tailpipe. Walnut case with pivoting hook fasteners, is lined with what might have been original purple velvet, but which has faded to brown. Case contains a number of accessories that look like they have been with the guns a very long time, including 2 greenheart loading rods, ebony-handled nipple key, unmarked nut cracker type ball mold (casting a 57 caliber ball), walnut-handled turnscrew marked "Huber" on blade, papier mache patch container, and an old percussion cap box marked "F. Joyce, London". Other accessories include fluted and beaded powder flask, and steel oil bottle. PROVENANCE: These guns are mentioned and photographed in THE CODE OF HONOR, DUELING IN AMERICA by Ellen Murray. CONDITION: Very good. Bbls retain a considerable amount of orig brown, showing some twist pattern. considerable amount of pitting is at rear around new drums. Lockplates, hammers and drums show 50-60% case hardening color from re-hardening done at time of conversion. Stocks retain most of an old oil finish. One gun is repaired with new added piece at muzzle. This gun has a minor crack from lock escutcheon toward bbl. Stock of other gun is very dark on left side from what appears to be old water damage, with a crack running across side panel, and another crack at right side near muzzle. One gun has replacement ramrod.  Case exterior has an old oil re-finish. Brass medallion in lid has been replaced with copper. Interior cloth is faded to brown with some insect damage and tears, as well as white discoloration. Guns fit case well. Partitions are relatively tight, but it seems some central partitions have been removed, and bits of leather have been set in. Old accessories are good. Newer accessories are fine. 

Copy and photos supplied by James D. Julia, Inc. This item will be in  their March 12 & 13, 2012 auction.

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