Page 284 - 4090-BOOK2
P. 284

  LOT 1371
Rare Documented 19th Century Relief Carved Germanic Bellows Crank Handle Tip-Up Barrel Air Pistol
- NSN, 8 mm , 9 inch octagon bbl., blue finish, walnut stock. This exact Bellows air pistol is photographed on page 214 of “Blue Book of Airguns, Thirteenth Edition” in which the book states, “At this time we know of two surviving
Bellows pistols, one in 8mm caliber and the other in 7mm. While unmarked, the pistols appear to be from the
 mid-1800s and possibly made by J. Adam Kuchenreuter, a top gunmaker in Regensburg, Germany.” Bellows air guns were generally made in the late 1700s to mid-1800s, with the rifles used primarily for indoor target shooting. This pistol features a conical bellows
hidden in the hollowed-out wooden stock, a tip-up octagon barrel chambered in approximately 8 mm (possibly for use with darts with a hair tail) with
a smooth bore that loads from the breech and releases with a lever that protrudes through the bottom of the stock ahead of the trigger guard, and is fitted with a walnut stock with fancy floral relief carvings. Circular brass collection tag marked “R.D. BEEMAN/PRIVATE/COLLECTION/483” hanging from the trigger
guard. Information on Bellows air guns can be found on pages 213-214 of “Blue Book of Airguns, Thirteenth Edition”.
CONDITION: Fine, retains 75% original blue finish on the barrel with smooth brown patina on the balance and some scattered freckling, and defined edges. The
brass exhibits an attractive golden aged patina. The stock is also fine as refinished, with a repair line visible on the right, a mild crack the length on top of the grip, and distinct recut floral relief carvings. The brass end cap is loose. The set trigger functions fine, otherwise mechanically untested. As one of only two known Bellows air pistols, this is likely a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire one!
Provenance: The Dr. Robert D. Beeman Collection.
Estimate: 3,000 - 4,500
  According to "Blue Book of Airguns, Thirteenth Edition", at the time of writing, the authors were only aware of two surviving Bellows pistols.
       LOT 1372
Engraved Girardoni System Repeating Grip Reservoir Air
Pistol by E.A. Stormer of Herzberg - NSN, 8.5 mm , 7 inch round bbl., brown/casehardened/blue
finish, walnut stock. This impressive embellished air pistol utilizes the Girardoni repeating system. The Girardoni (sometimes spelled
“Girandoni”) is easily the most famous early air rifle (pistol in this case) or windbuchse largely thanks to the fact that for many years it has been associated with Lewis & Clark and their famous Corps of Discovery Expedition. It is widely believed that they either had a Girardoni or a very similar design by Isaiah Lukens of Philadelphia. The Girardoni was designed by Bartolomeo Girardoni around 1779 and is also significant as
one of the first widely used repeating martial arms, with a magazine tube on the right side of the barrel for use with lead balls and a breech block that
is able to be pressed sideways against spring pressure for loading/repeating capability. The rifles were notably used by Austrian sharpshooters from 1787-1815. Because the air
tanks took around 30 minutes of pumping by hand to bring to full pressure, the riflemen had assistants that repressurized the reservoirs initially and later also had more efficient wagon mounted pumps. “Wind guns” had several advantages over conventional firearms including that they were quieter, smokeless, quicker to reload, and relatively unaffected
by rain. They also required less cleaning since they did not require corrosive black powder. Signed “E.A.STORMER/K.O.H.R.MSTR./IN HERZBERG” in three lines on the lock. No further
information related to this maker has been located at the current time. The round barrel is chambered in approximately .34 caliber/8.5 mm with fine-groove rifling, a dovetail mounted blade front sight and
notch rear sight, walnut stock and a leather wrapped metal stock reservoir. Features floral scroll, border pattern, and a martial motif engraved on top of the brass frame, sideplate, lock, trigger guard and
fittings. Fitted with a walnut stock with horn end cap. More information on Girardoni air guns can be found in the online article at, as well as pages 598-601
of “Blue Book of Airguns, Thirteenth Edition” with other similar examples of Girardoni system air pistols are photographed and described on pages 598 and 601.
CONDITION: Very good, with scattered heavy surface spotting over original brown finish on the barrel and magazine tube, gray and brown patina on the casehardened lock and sideplate, brown patina on the
blued trigger guard and ramrod ferrules with traces of original blue finish in the protected areas of the trigger guard, highly attractive bright golden patina on the brass receiver, and absolutely sharp engraving overall. The wood is fine with scattered scratches, and defined edges overall. The leather on the grip reservoir is good with moderate flaking, wear and cracked areas. The spring loaded breech block functions mechanically fine, with an absent cocking lever and absent spring latch on the magazine tube cover. Rock Island Auction Company has only ever had the privilege to offer a few Girardoni system pistols, and they are very seldom seen outside of the well known Dr. Robert D. Beeman’s collection, as offered here!
Provenance: The Dr. Robert D. Beeman Collection.
282 Estimate: 5,000 - 8,000

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