The smell of cordite was in the air as international trade and private buyers battled it out for the 382 lots at Bonhams Fine Arms & Armour Sale yesterday (April 29). The result was an explosive £1.13m total with 94% of lots sold and few prisoners taken.
"The result is a reflection of the buoyancy of the market for fine antique weapons of all sorts, said David Williams, Head of Fine Antique Arms & Armour at Bonhams.
He was particularly pleased for the private collector, Per T Norheim, whose array of edged weapons and antique firearms - mainly flintlock and wheel-lock guns, collected over 50 years - did exceptionally well in the sale.
Our tip for the sale, a fine Lloyd's Patriotic Fund sword and belt awarded to Lieutenant William Howe Mulcaster of HMS Minerva, was the top lot. It made £60,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £35,000-45,000.
A pair of model field guns estimated at £8,000 to £10,000 sold for the very strong price of £26,400.
One of the trends evident in this sale was the usual interest created by a fine collection coming to the market and the particular interest in wheel-lock and flintlock weapons.
"It is very encouraging to see how well fine antique arms and armour is performing despite the rather grim economic situation we are currently in. This market has never been stronger," added David Williams.
Bonhams is now preparing for its next sale, scheduled for July 21.