September 26, 2018 O'Connor's Americana Collection
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/26/2018
Ensign James Grant of the First Highland Battalion carried this all steel pistol and Highland backsword throughout the campaigns of the French and Indian War. Grant was a native of Kinmachlie, Banffshire, Scotland. In 1757, he landed in Charleston, South Carolina. He was in the 62nd Regiment, later the 77th Highland Regiment of foot, Montgomerie's Highlanders, raised in 1757. He served on the 1758 expedition against Fort Duquesne and on the Lake George frontier the following year. Portions of the 77th went on to fight the Cherokee Indians in South Carolina between 1760 and 1761, the French and Spanish forces in the West Indies between 1761 and 1762, and the French forces in Newfoundland in 1762. In 1763, Grant was among the sickly remnants of the regiment that relieved the besieged Fort Pitt, fighting at the battle of Bushy Run in August of 1763. In 1764, the regiment was disbanded and James Grant settled in Dutchess County, New York. This pistol, sword, and his military papers were all carefully preserved by by his descendants for more than 200 years, until the last surviving family member died. The pistol and sword were both displayed while on loan for both the "Unconquered" and the "Clash of Empires" exhibits in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Senator John Heinz History Center, in Association with The Smithsonian Institution. They were both featured in two articles in "The Gun Report" in October 1981 and September 1983, as well as "The Clash of Empires: The British, French & Indian War 1754-1763" by R.S. Stephenson. An archive of information is included with the items, including: the publications that have featured these items, the loan documents for the museum exhibits, notarized letters for both pieces from when they were purchased from the family's estate executor by Richard Zeusler, a great deal of research on Ensign James Grant and the 77th Regiment, photos of Grants estate in Scotland, copies of family wills, and many letters in regards to Walter O'Connor's acquisition of the items. The provenance and research is iron-clad, making this an especially important French and Indian War grouping. The basket-hilted backsword dates circa 1740-1760 and belonged to Ensign, later Captain, James Grant. The well-forged and artistically filed hilt is unmarked as to maker, but an engraved (a bit worn, so possibly struck) "S" for Stirling, Scotland, its place of manufacture, appears on the underside of its rear quillon at the junction of the additional rear-guard and the wrist-guard. On the inside surface of the left branch of this additional rear-guard, there are five very carefully cut notches, or tally marks, which must have held some particular significance for the sword's original owner. The grip is entirely original, its blackened leather partially bound with two strips of twisted brass wire. The 31-5/8" straight blade of German origin is 1-9/16" wide at the ricasso and 5/32" to 3/16" in thickness at the lower section of its back, approaching the hilt. The numerals "XIII" are lightly incised on the back of the blade 3/4" from the hilt, the exact meaning of which is unknown. The back is unsharpened to within 3-5/8" of the tip, where an actual cutting edge begins. Both sides have two narrow fullers, the upper running to 3-3/4" of the tip, the lower extending the full length. Struck on each face within the fullers, beginning 6-5/8" from the hilt, and in two lines, is stamped "XX ANDRIA XX/XX FERARA XX". This is a period, but spuriously applied legend relating to a master swordsmith of nearly two centuries earlier working in Belluno, Italy, in the mountains of North Venice. German-made blades, which were intended for sale to Scottish hammermen, often bore Farara's name, perhaps not to intentionally deceive the Scots, but as a real tribute to his renown. Remarkably, the swords original black, heavy leather scabbard has survived though missing the lower 8-1/2" and possibly an iron tip. It does retain its original chape, as well as the hook for a frog, both of iron. A portion of the tooled decoration is still visible on the obverse side. Very few original scabbards for 18th century Highland basket-hilts still accompany them. The Highland, all-metal, scroll butt pistol of James Grant measures 12-3/4" overall. The two-stage round iron barrel extends 1-13/16" beyond the fore-end of the iron stock, has a baluster-form breech. Just forward of the breech, there is some decorative engraving. In front of the baluster there are two narrow relief rings preceding the same style of engraving, "LONDON", in block letters is inscribed on top of this first section, then two more two narrow rings. The original lock is in its original state and measures 5-1/8"long. The rounded lockplate is decorated with sprigs of scroll engraving and detailed borders, the center is inscribed "WILL/ALLAN" in block letters. Though not a common feature on Scottish pistols, on the tail of the plate, there is a sliding safety which locks the cock at half-cock position only. Walter O'Connor had only seen one other nearly identical pistol signed by this maker with this type of safety. Allan worked in the mid 18th century in Stirling, Scotland and two of his pistols are displayed in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, in Edinburgh. The iron stock has a good deal of engraving overall, most notably are the motifs on the underside, which include a crown surmounting the thistle and the rose, enclosed within crosshatched borders. The grips feature sawtooth borders and some foliate work, and each side has an ovoid cartouche which remains vacant, never having been inscribed with an owner's name or initials. The backstrap area is also covered with borders and foliate patterns. The fore-end also has a few sprigs of engraving. The 5-1/2" belt hook is decorate en suite. The single ramrod ferrule has a series of relief rings. The original ramrod has a baluster-form head and the lower end has a partially broken off worm. The lightly engraved and pierced ball finial as well as that on the touch-hole pick, are fashioned of silver. The pistol is in very good condition and has been been cleaned or polished. All surfaces retain an even grey-brown patina with some darker spots. The left side of the flared muzzle has a minute fracture and is slightly flattened, but hardly noticeable. The lock functions well and is in original flintlock configuration, the front lock tang screw was replaced a long time ago. The silver finials on trigger and pick retain an unpolished patina. PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOWING THREE LOTS OF DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THIS GROUPING WHICH ARE ALSO FROM THE GRANT FAMILY.
Barrel Length
8 - 13/16"
.64 Smoothbore
FFL Status
Will Allen
Flintlock All Steel Pistol
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $20,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $90,000.00
Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000
Number Bids: 20
Auction closed on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.
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