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Digital Subscriptions > Antiques Trade Gazette > 2303 > Pistol gripped

Pistol gripped

In our biannual review of arms and armour auctions, Mark Bridge focuses on results for pistols, swords and sporting guns and a trend to emphasise their qualities as works of art


Cased pairs of pistols remain a particular favourite with collectors, being relatively compact and often in excellent condition after centuries cocooned in their brass-bound mahogany boxes.

This is most obviously true with the finest French and other continental European presentation cases, which were always intended for display rather than aggression, and frequently show little or no sign of use.

However, in an age when a gentleman was almost obliged to own a good quality pair of pistols against the day when he might be expected to defend his honour, if he most sensibly avoided this outcome then fine London pistols can still be found in almost unfired condition.

These will always command a premium, especially when accompanied by a good selection of original accessories.

One step below the duelling or officer’s pistols come the generally more compact weapons that a gentleman might use to defend himself against more ungentlemanly attacks on his person from robbers and ruffians. These too can be of high quality and little used.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Antiques Trade Gazette is the essential publication for everyone with a serious interest in art, antiques and collectables. Every week it is packed with up-to-the-minute news on the market, with individual items beautifully illustrated throughout. Since 1971 it has been the most reliable source of information on what is really happening at auctions in the UK and around the world. Each issue is filled with auction advertisements and detailed auction reports written by expert journalists. The Dealer’s Diary section keeps readers constantly updated on what is happening at the fairs and markets and in the galleries and shops. Market professionals and serious collectors throughout the world rely on ATG to keep them informed on developments and issues which shape the art market. It is here that they learn about the prices achieved at auction in every area - from antiquities to pop memorabilia, from impressionist paintings to Chinese art. With 500 or more art objects pictured, every issue is a treat to the eye and a visual education. Whatever the topic Antiques Trade Gazette is well-informed, up-to-date and entertaining.

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