Post-modernism anticipated. Even though James Purdey pioneered the two-groove stalking rifle, and even is said to have coined the term “Express”, breech-loading double rifles by J. Purdey & Sons are extremely rare. Even fewer of them are built on the house’s trademark Beesley’s patent self-opening action – but what makes this 1898 Purdey double rifle doubly special is that it is used in combination with Jones underlever loclup.
I already mentioned “The Montreal Gun”, created by Leonard Vassev for the 1967 World Expo, in the post about Izhevsk’s best engraver. Thousands of people from all over the world admired this unique specimen of gunmaking art; many were able to appreciate the amount of talent and toil that went into it, but none of them knew what drama lurked behind those graceful lines – or that the gun was in fact No2 of an unvoluntarily matched pair.
One-two-stop, one-two-stop; as if in a Vienna waltz I go through pages of Joh. Springer’s 22nd Classic Auction catalogue, from Merkel over/unders to Art Nuveau engraving to a few British pragmatisms to possible but unlikely royal provenance, with an occasional nod to a sewing machine – click “More” and dance along! Tra-la-la-la-la!
With all due respect to the mandatory matched pairs of Purdeys, the real queens of this ball are Koersten-type over/unders. I didn’t realize – although it makes perfect sense – that many Ferlach makers built their guns on this platform.
I’ve spent a few joyful hours today admiring the catalogue of Joh. Springer’s Erben 22nd Classic Auction over a cup of coffee, and while I’m not really into handguns, this 1897 Roth-Theodorovich that graces the cover of the catalogue is definitely something else. Its ugliness is so complete that it approximates beauty. But the action is not just about ugly pistols – click on “more” to see some of the beautiful and unusual rifles and combination guns that will go under hammer on April 20.
All since mid-1990s I’ve been hearing how TsKIB’s workforce, both designers and the “hands” who actually build the guns, are dissatisfied with the management and are quitting their jobs en masse. And all the time I’ve been waiting for some of them to start their own gunmaking business. Well, looks like it finally happened!
From 1962 to 1987 Soviet citizens could not own rifles. Those who needed a rifle for work – professional trappers, reindeer herders and such – could have one issued by the organization that employed them, but the rifle would be the property of the organization. Private ownership of rifles (and handguns) was banned. Some Communists, however, were more equal than others…