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Very Rare Exhibition Quality Nimschke Engraved Model 1882 Spencer Arms Co. "Grade A" First Model Deluxe Pump-Action Shotgun, 12 Ga, mfg. circa 1885. Created by Christopher Spencer, designer of the Spencer rifles and carbines of Civil War and plains Indian Wars fame, the Spencer shotgun is considered to be the first successful American pump-action repeater and subsequently the gun which would begin the demise of the traditional side-by-side double. Spencer manufactured the guns between 1884-1889 before selling out to Francis Bannerman who continued production from 1890-1907. Bannerman's version however lacked the finer quality of the original Spencer production. The gun offered here is one of approximately 800 or so "First Models" manufactured within the first two years of production and is an extraordinary example of a premier "Grade A" model which cost $100 new. Spencer's first catalog printed in 1885 describes this gun as "Finest Italian Walnut, pistol grip, Turkish Damascus barrel, extra engraved". The 30" barrel retains 90% vivid original browned Turkish Damascus pattern (note the swirled "star" design) while the magazine tube shows 75% twist-steel pattern. The case hardened frame has faded mostly to silver with some mottled plum/gray definition. It is profusely engraved throughout in the style of L. D. Nimschke's New York shop and features elegant scrolls with a clamshell motif atop the wrist and a dog's head on the left side of the frame within a panel. Likewise the right side features an identical panel inscribed within "SPENCER / ARMS CO / PAT. APR 1882". The engraving is flawlessly
sharp and crisp throughout and covers the top and bottom of the frame, carrier & ejector, triggerguard, and both upper & lower tangs. The Italian Walnut stock features a finely checkered pistol grip with diamond pattern forearm and shows breathtaking marbelized grain. Without exaggeration this is the finest wood I have ever seen on a Spencer shotgun, period. It retains nearly all of it's original high-polish luster with no cracks, chips, or repairs whatsoever. Original checkered hard rubber butplate is sharp with no cracks or chips. Original nickel silver bead front sight with serial number "822" marked on the carrier and clear early Spencer barrel address which reads "SPENCER ARMS CO. WINDSOR CT. U.S.A.". Occasionally if the action is cycled quickly the hammer will cock but then drop as the pump is returned forward. I attribute this to being a bit gummed up with old dry oil within and am sure a proper internal cleaning will remedy it. Generally it will operate properly however and the action is very tight and crisp. The carrier, cartridge extractor, and spring loaded ejector all work flawlessly. Near mirror bright bore with light blackpowder frosting and fine pinprick pitting scattered throughout. Engraved Spencer shotguns are an extreme rarity in any form yet finding an early First Model which conforms exactly to Grade A specifications is virtually impossible. Certainly the finest Spencer we have ever offered and I don't expect to see another like it! $7,500.00
Rare & Massive R. B. Rodda & Co., London & Calcutta, Engraved Percussion Over/Under Double Barrel Howdah Pistol, .63 cal smoothbore, mfg. circa 1860. Double barreled pistols of such large caliber were intended as back up guns for dangerous game hunters typically in India who needed the fast handling firepower to stop charging tigers attacking the platform, or "howdah", mounted atop elephants from which the hunters took aim. The term "Howdah Pistol" tends to get thrown around loosely among collectors being applied to almost any double barrel pistol of moderate to large size however the example offered here is the epitome of a true Howdah pistol having been originally retailed in Calcutta, India specifically for self defense against tigers. R. B. Rodda was one of the premier retailers in India during the British Raj of fine English weapons and particularly dangerous game stopping guns. The pistol is massive measuring 12 1/2" long overall and weighing just one ounce shy of 3 lbs. Clearly a robust gun made to handle heavy charges of blackpowder and a hard life in the Indian wilderness. The 18 bore (.637) Birmingham proofed barrels measure 6 1/2" long and feature a silver bead front sight with sighted breech. The top flat of the barrels is inscribed "R.B. RODDA & Co. LONDON & CALCUTTA" with "R.B. RODDA & Co" inscribed on both locks. The gun is beautifully engraved with tight English scrollwork on the locks, hammers, barrel, tang, and triggerguard. The markings and engraving all remain sharp throughout. Overall the metal has a bright silver/gray appearance showing some small yet vibrant traces of original
bluing around the front sight, barrel tang, and lower tang. The surfaces are smooth with some small scattered spots of superfine pinprick pitting forming. Large checkered wood grip features a silver escutcheon and shows much wear with a pleasing untouched finish. Other than a tight 1/2" check behind the barrel tang the wood has survived without any further damage or repair whatsoever. Original fluted iron buttcap with lanyard ring and military style swivel ramrod. Both hammers are matching originals with the right being longer to reach the bottom barrel. The triggers are a bit sticky yet both actions are secure and function nicely with half and full cocks and strong mainsprings. The right hammer is slightly loose only noticeable when cocked. Both nipples are good intact originals. There is absolutely no doubt or question where this gun was used and for what purpose. A rare opportunity to own a real deal British Howdah pistol that obviously spent many years in India battling tigers! $3,250.00