Rare antique swords and pistols of Farquhar and Thornton sell at Bonhams

You could say that the antique arms and armour market is 'as strong as steel' at the moment. Bonhams' latest £1.4m sale is yet another success for the militaria collecting niche this year, with 89 per cent of lots selling in the auction.

Among the top items auctioned on November 30 in London was a weapon with incredible provenance: a Lloyds Patriotic sword once awarded to Captain Arthur Farquhar. It sold for £79,250.

The Lloyds Patriotic sword, awarded
to Captain Arthur Farquhar

In the run-up to the sale, David Williams, Director the Antique Arms and Armour Department at Bonhams, described Farquhar as: "the living embodiment of the plucky naval officer who helped Britain to rule the waves by his willingness to take on overwhelming odds."

You can read more about Arthur Farquhar's incredible story in our full pre-sale report from earlier this year.

Also auctioned at Bonhams was a set of duelling pistols. These were once owned by the colourful Lt-Colonel Thomas Thornton, and found a new modern-day owner for £67,250.

"The market remains buoyant with interest coming from round the world for what was an outstanding collection of material," said David Williams.

"Interest in collecting Antique arms and militaria continues to grow."

Thornton is today remembered as an 18th century playboy, crack shot, keen horseman and ladies' man. His pistols sold at Bonhams were made by Joseph Manton of London in 1796.

The Lt-Colonel was especially notorious for his succession of mistresses, and for being one of the most dedicated and flamboyant sportsman of the 18th and 19th centuries.


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