Auction diary archive

Dig's auction diary

Diggory Hadoke is Sporting Shooter's expert on old guns and buying at auction.

This is the archive of his auction diary articles

August 2007 Bonham’s, 1 August 

The 2nd August saw a triumphant glow emanating from Montpellier Street, Bonham’s HQ, where Patrick Hawes retired after a hard day on the telephone to reflect on a £16,000 high-estimate for a wonderful old .577 Westley Richards double rifle becoming a £64,000 sale. Sadly, I left the room before this final lot came up but the result speaks for itself.

A busy auction room at Bonham's on 1 August

Some of the foreign double rifles struggled to sell but this is a notoriously tricky sector for everyone in the business and the returns on these are not often good. They are worth having a look at however, if you need a cheap rifle for a serious bit of work. There were some nice rifles in the bolt-action section as well. A pretty Francotte .357 H&H magnum with a Zeiss scope made £2,500*; which is a lot of gun for under £3000.Pairs were selling across the range with boxlocks by William Evans starting us off at £5,200* and a really nice pair of Holland & Holland ‘Royals’ making £21,000*. Mid-way were usable pairs by Boss and Woodward at £9,000*.Of the single guns, I was pleased with a Lang sidelock for £2,000*, which is an honest second-quality gun in decent condition and measuring well in barrels and stock. I also snapped up a 16-bore hammer gun by the same maker for £420* and a 3” wildfowling hammer gun by Clarke for £600*. (*Prices exclusive of commission.)Some ‘as new’ Belgian Browning over/unders and both boxlock and sidelock 12-bores by Merkel made good prices. These two makers seem able to buck the trend of buyers favouring English guns and both have sold well at Bonham’s in recent months.

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Sotheby’s, 28 August

Having just recovered from Bonham’s, preparation begins for the Sotheby’s sale at Gleneagles and there is a lot to see. (BTW, those unable to travel to Scotland should note that the guns will be on view in London in early August).Gavin Gardiner has put together a catalogue of 117 lots and inside you will find a wealth of tasty morsels to tempt you out of some of your hard-earned millions. The Sotheby’s summer sale is traditionally aimed at the grouse shooting fraternity visiting Scotland for a crack at the ‘spats wearing’ game birds and itching to splash out on a new pair of sidelocks. The pairs of Purdey’s on offer include one that was used by Lord Mountbatten and another (20-bores) built especially for Sir Jackie Stewart in 1976. Sir Jackie’s Boss 12-bores are also in the sale, as are a trio of Purdey 12-bores built for the Duke of Norfolk.I have my eye on a pair of Stephen Grant hammer guns, individually cased and dating from 1869. They are estimated at £4,000-£6,000 and I expect I’ll be blown out of the water on them by some American collector. Another Grant people will have their eye on is a very rare 8-bore double hammer gun from the same year and estimated at £10,000 - £15,000.Next month we’ll look at the realised prices from the Sotheby’s sale and get a preview of the Holt’s sale due on 20th September.