THOMAS DEL MAR (IN ASSOCIATION WITH SOTHEBY’S) AUCTION OF ARMS, ARMOUR & MILITARIA ON DECEMBER 5 AT BLYTHE ROAD, W14

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A SUPERB GOLD sword that belonged to His Serene Highness Ludwig Adolf Peter, Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein (1769-1843) – who started his illustrious military career as the bodyguard of Empress Catherine II, and is famously known as ‘The Saviour of St. Petersburg’ is expected to fetch £40,000-60,000 in Thomas Del Mar Ltd’s auction of Antique Arms, Armour and Militaria. Held in association with Sotheby’s, the auction of will take place at 25 Blythe Road, London W14 on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at Midday. Viewing will be held on the three days prior to the sale, including the weekend and for those, who cannot attend the sale, online bidding is available via the-saleroom.com.

Exactly 200 years old, the very-fine sword dates from 1812 and, as well as being etched with scrolls of foliage, it is mounted in three colours of gold, with the makers marks for Joseph Wolfgang Schmidt, a distinguished maker of highly decorated gold boxes, who was recorded in Vienna between 1769-1836.

MAGNIFICENT MECHANICS – THE ART OF THE RENAISSANCE GUNSMITH

The sale of 371 lots also includes several single-owner collections including seven pieces from the collection of the Late Professor Leonard Shaw comprising several important wheel-lock pistols dating from the mid 16th century onwards. Professor Shaw was born in Marshfields, Bradford in 1912. His interest in physics and electronics led him into the newest industry, as a wirer of radio sets. Within six months he had opened a small shop in Manchester Road, from where he repaired radio sets. After service in the RAF and work with radar, which enhanced his knowledge of electronics, Shaw opened a large shop in the heart of town in busy Market Street, Bradford. Once the field began to be dominated by large companies Shaw had the wisdom to leave it, he decided to find an answer to one of the major problems faced by the booming textile industry in Bradford. The result was his moisture meter and soon every textile manufacturer in the country had one. The company continues to trade and still bears his name, Shaw Moisture Meters. Shaw sold the commercial rights to the ‘sensortechnology’ in 1976 and moved to Guernsey. He died in November 2010.

Among the Shaw Collection is a very rare superimposed load German Wheel-lock Belt Pistol dated 1609, signed Vk, probably for Valentin Klett of Suhl – described as a member of one of the most important gunmaking families of Central Europe. The pistol carries an estimate of £25,000-35,000. Also included is a Fine ornately-decorated 25 Bore Thuringian Wheel-Lock Pistol, which is also estimated at £25,000-35,000. Dating from circa 1590, the pistol is decorated with three mythical birds and a marine monster opposite the lock, while the butt is decorated with an owl and a grotesque on the spine.

Also included are 30 lots from the collection of James D. Lavin Ph.D, the author of the seminal work on Spanish Firearms, which remains the standard reference on the subject. In his introduction to that book, highly-respected expert Claude Blair, noted Lavin’s rare combination of qualities including his outstanding research, first class knowledge of the Spanish language and his wide grasp of the history of firearms in general that make the book one of outstanding importance in the field. The Lavin Collection includes some truly distinguished examples of Spanish gunmaking and associated pieces such as a Fine and Rare 22 Bore Catalan Miquelet-Lock Fowlingpiece originating from Barcelona and dated 1684. Estimated £6,000- 8,000, the butt is signed ‘Miguel Colome’ – who was likely to have been the name of the stocker.

Elsewhere in the sale is a good selection of European armour dating from the mid to late 16th century with estimates ranging from £14,000 upwards.

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