Simon Bolivar pistol pair to auction at Christie's

A pair of pistols presented by the Marquis de Lafayette to Simon Bolivar in 1825 will sell at Christie's.

They were made by Nicolas-Noel Boutet, gun maker to Louis XVI and Napoleon.

Simon Bolivar pistols
Nicolas-Noel Boutet was gun maker to both Napoleon and Louis XVI

The lot is expected to make $1.5m-2.5m in the April 13 sale.

Simon Bolivar, also known as El Liberator, was born in Venezuela in 1783 - which was then under Spanish colonial rule.

He made it his life's mission to establish South American sovereignty and led a successful military campaign against the Spanish overlords.

With the establishment of Bolivia in 1825, he became one of very few people to have a country named after them.

The Marquis de Lafayette was a French aristocrat who fought for the US in the revolutionary war. He recognised Bolivar's struggle as his own and sent him these pistols in congratulation, along with a lock of George Washington's hair.

Bolivar responded in a letter: "Ah, what mortal could ever be worthy of the honors that you and Mount Vernon [Washington's estate] see fit to lavish on me!"

Becky Maguire of Christie's told Gizmag, a technology news website: "Every once in awhile, we are lucky enough to work with something at Christie's that connects us to the giants of history, so that they jump off the pages of the history books and seem alive.

"These pistols are a perfect example, serving as a link between three revolutionary heroes: George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Simon Bol?�var."

In 2004 Christie's sold another pair of pistols by Nicolas de Boutet that were gifted to Simon Bolivar by one of his financiers, Ricardo Illingworth.

They achieved $1.6m.

The record for a firearm at auction is held by a pair of saddle pistols gifted by Lafayette to George Washington that sold for $1.9m in 2002.

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