$50,000 Le Page Pistols excel in Italian militaria auction
Four magnificent cased Le Page pistols sold as top lot at a June 3 auction in Italy
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Wednesday 6 June 2012
An outstanding case of four pistols by Le Page, formerly the property of Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg, highlighted an Italian militaria auction on June 3.
The pistols were awarded to Prince Felix on his appointment as minister-president and foreign minister of Austria in 1848. Felix was a popular Austrian diplomat whose successes include transforming the Habsburg empire into a unified, centralised state.
The case comprised a pair of lavishly engraved percussion pistols, with another pair of pocket pistols, each bearing the gilt mark "Le Page a Paris".
Le Page, formed in Paris in 1717, is a renowned French firearms manufacturer noted for its regal clientele, which includes King Louis VX and later, the Russian Imperial Court. The magnificent lot sold for €40,000 ($50,016) complete with all accessories.
A further pair of cased percussion pistols, this time from the property of an Arabic sultan, also performed well. The elaborately decorated pistols were made by Devisme, another of the great French firearms companies, and featured characteristic high-relief floral motifs with Arabic inscriptions at the trigger guards. They sold for €32,000 ($40,014) against an estimate of €30,000-40,000.
Elsewhere in the sale, a rare wheel-lock rifle decorated with anticlerical and pornographic bone inlays brought €37,500 ($46,886). Made in mid-17th century Germany, the butt-plate of the rifle featured an engraving of the pope wearing a tiara which, when turned upside down, becomes the devil. Featuring an array of similarly indecent, yet finely engraved, images, the rifle was sold in good condition for €37,500 ($46,820).
See more fascinating results from similar sales across the world in Paul Fraser Collectibles' dedicated militaria section.
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Images: Czerny's International