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Old January 8, 2012, 09:50 PM   #1
soarinmccoy
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Whale Bone Grip Sappho Pistol? Info? Worth?

Take a look at this pistol I have came across. Obviously it could be worth whatever someone wanted to pay but Im curious of some comps or posibbly an idea of what I should pay for my collection?

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"This pistol was made by Bond who worked in Birmingham,England in the first half of the 19th century. The grip is beautifully scimshawed and has the sailors intials "JHE" and the ships name"Sappho". Also,the grips have what I beleive to be some kind of pink shells or beads inlaid in gold on them. The whaling bark Sappho was launched in 1845 at the height of the whaling trade. She sailed the seven seas for 37 years until she was crushed in Artic ice on July,27th,1882.
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Old January 8, 2012, 09:54 PM   #2
soarinmccoy
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Old January 8, 2012, 10:08 PM   #3
towboat-er
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I've no idea what it is worth. It sure is an AWESOME piece though.
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Old January 8, 2012, 10:48 PM   #4
egor20
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Nice looking gun.

The Sappho was actually crushed on May 6 1882, off Plover [Provideniya] Bay, Siberia. The July 27 1882 date is from a New York Times article written on that date.

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...D1405B8284F0D3

Edit: Shipwreck registry the Sappho is on page 29

http://alaska.boemre.gov/ref/ships/2..._Shipwreck.pdf
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Old January 9, 2012, 09:50 PM   #5
soarinmccoy
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Thank you!

Thanks for the responses. I just saw this piece and am dying for it but at this point I can't make purchases I feel very comfortable with. I made an offer on the gun but we were just a few hundred dollars apart. I had a couple of concerns about it, and wish I could just find a comparable of some sort
Its driving me crazy! lol
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Old January 10, 2012, 07:20 AM   #6
gyvel
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If you want the gun, then get it. The few hundred dollars will be forgotten about eventually, but the gun will give you years of pleasure. Or, you could "split the difference" between your offer and his asking price.

There are some guns I purchased in past years that I know I overpaid for, but I have long since forgotten what I paid but still have the gun. (More than likely they are now worth more than what I overpaid for them.)
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Old January 10, 2012, 05:07 PM   #7
James K
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That is a rather nice screw barrel pistol. I suspect it is a late gun due to the double neck cock. But those guns were made in the late 18th and early 19th century - they would have been obsolete by the 1880s so it is not easy to see a connection between the pistol and a ship that sank in 1882. Perhaps the supposed connection with a whaler misled someone, but that stock looks like ivory to me.

There were a number of ships named Sappho, including four ships of the Royal Navy, one of which was an 18-gun brig-sloop launched in 1806, a much more likely date for that pistol and in line with the time Bond was active.

BTW, those are often called "Queen Anne" pistols, but Queen Anne died in 1714, long before the screw barrel became popular. Does anyone know what the connection was or why the guns came to be called that?

Jim
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Old January 16, 2012, 06:04 PM   #8
weaponscollector
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Queen Anne Style versus the English box-lock

Pistols with turn-off barrels were made well before the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714). My father had several that dated from the late 17th century. A style of turn-off barrel pistol became popular during Queen Anne's reign. These usually had a barrel that resembled a cannon, locks incorporated into the breach with side cocks, silver decorations, walnut stocks and silver butt-caps that featured a grotesque mask. Pistols of this style became known as "Queen Anne" pistols.



http://weaponscollector.com/breech_loaders.php

The pistols shown below are of the box-lock style. English boxlock pistols began to appear around 1730 and lasted well into the percussion era of the next century. With a boxlock the cock (hammer) is located in the center of the lock on top of the action. The flashpan and frizzen are located just in front of the cock on the center of the breach. The frizzen spring is fitted into a recess on top of the breech. Most boxlock pistols have a trigger guard safety. Sliding the trigger guard forward with the pistol half-cocked, locks the trigger and the cock. The box-lock in the first post has a type of safety common on smaller pistols. It is located on top of the action behind the cock.



http://weaponscollector.com/townshend_c1783.php

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Old January 16, 2012, 09:02 PM   #9
Bill DeShivs
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That's ivory, not whale bone.
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Old January 16, 2012, 09:39 PM   #10
James K
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Thanks for the information and correction, Weaponscollector. Much appreciated.

Jim
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Old January 16, 2012, 10:19 PM   #11
weaponscollector
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Real early breach loader

It was my pleasure Jim K. I decided to stop lurking and contribute to the discussion.

When I started researching early breach loaders it was surprising to find out how far back they go. According to the Oxford Companion to Military History, Leonardo da Vinci illustrated a hackbutt (a type of early, heavy matchlock musket) with an unscrewing, or ‘turn-off’ breech in his Codex Atlanticus of c.1500-10.

I am still looking for a copy of that drawing.
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Old January 17, 2012, 07:25 PM   #12
James K
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While they seem to have been reasonably popular, it has always seemed to me that a screw barrel gun simply is too time-consuming to reload. Powder and ball can be rammed as fast as a barrel can be unscrewed, and a cartridge will make loading even faster and without the need to carry a powder flask and balls. IMHO, the supposed extra power of the screw barrel does not counteract that greater difficulty, at least in a small pocket pistol.

Jim
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Old January 17, 2012, 07:56 PM   #13
weaponscollector
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Queen Anne pistols for personal defense not military use

Queen Anne pistols were vastly superior because of their accuracy and range. Their size made them easier to carry loaded in the pocket or belt. In some cases they were even rifled. They required greater skill to make and were expensive when compared with the more common Holster pistols (aka dragoon pistol). Holster pistols were preferred by the military. Queen Anne's were preferred by the wealthy for personal defense. Pirates seem to have liked them too.
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