CANVASES, CARATS AND CURIOSITIES

A Show of Honor: Dueling Pistols

2 minute read

A handsome pair of .45 caliber percussion cap pistols in their original case by Deboubert of Paris. Circa 1830

A handsome pair of .45 caliber percussion cap pistols in their original case by Deboubert of Paris. Circa 1830

Dueling pistols have a romantic history. In earlier times, dueling was the mark of a true gentlemen. Beginning in early modern Europe, the act of dueling emerged as an arranged ritual to resolve conflict amongst the most highly-esteemed men. Until the mid-19th century, dueling remained a popular method to restore one's honor by demonstrating one’s willingness to risk their life for it.

This handsome pair of English .54 caliber percussion belt pistols feature elegant saw-handle grips

This handsome pair of English .54 caliber percussion belt pistols feature elegant saw-handle grips

Though seemingly barbaric today, dueling was an activity that would fully secure a man’s honor and reputation. In earlier societies, a man’s preservation of integrity was absolutely paramount, and a man would go to great lengths to maintain his reputation. Men such as Andrew Jackson, Charles Dickinson, and even the modest Abraham Lincoln participated in this honor combat in their lifetimes.

The barrel terminates in fine nickel silver grips decorated with sharp and crisp engraving

The barrel terminates in fine nickel silver grips decorated with sharp and crisp engraving

During the 17th and 18th centuries, duels were not fought with guns, but rather with swords or rapiers. Yet, with in invent of dueling pistols in the late 18th century, dueling became all the more dangerous. These firearms quickly became a required accessories to any affluent man’s wardrobe. These beautiful yet deadly weapons were specifically crafted for the purpose of the duel, and often boasted intricate detailing and exceptional craftsmanship. Dueling pistols were crafted to be extremely accurate according to exact standards that would ensure no chance of malfunction or misfire.

Housed in their original box, which features lush green fabric and a gilt-stamped trade label

Housed in their original box, which features lush green fabric and a gilt-stamped trade label

Today, few antiques evoke the same emotion as dueling pistols. This magnificent pair of British dueling pistols, crafted in 1850, embody the esteem and honor that was associated with the duel. The .54 caliber percussion belt pistols are comprised of elegant saw-handle grips that were ornamental and functional, helping to keep the shooters hand steady. Damascus steel makes up the smooth, octagonal shaft that terminates in nickel silver grips. Intricate engraving encapsulates the elegant handles. The pistols are nestled within their original, custom-fitted case, which also contains a bullet mold, powder flask, cleaning rod and a compartment for ball storage. These pistols are emblematic of the strength and unparalleled masculinity that duels evoked.

Intricate decoration adorns the barrels and frames of each revolver

Intricate decoration adorns the barrels and frames of each revolver

Similarly, this pair of Robert Adams duel percussion dueling pistols are a fine example of exceptionally crafted firearms. Featuring abundantly engraved scrollwork handles of gilt-brass plaques, these stately firearms are housed in their original case of veneered wood lined with velvet. The double action percussion pistol revolvers are the epitome of fine firearm craftsmanship, marked by an extraordinary crafter: The R. Adams Manufacturer of Fine Firearms, one of the most influential British gun designers. These magnificent firearms come as a complete set with their original accessories, including a brass bullet mold, gilt-brass powder flask, and oil bottle.

View our entire selection of rare antique pistols here.

 

 

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