Page 391 - 4090-BOOK2
P. 391

 LOT 1553
Historic Mannlicher-Schoenauer/George Gibbs Model 1905 Bolt Action Sporting Rifle Attributed to Famous English Big Game Hunter Denys Finch Hatton of “Out of Africa” Fame with Case, Ammunition, and Documentation - Serial no. 1212, 256 Gibbs Magnum cal., 25 inch round bbl., blue finish, walnut stock. This rifle comes from the time of great European safari hunters in Africa, its historic nature cannot be overstated. Once owned by famous British hunter and adventurer Denys Finch Hatton, this rifle surely saw much use taking all types of game in Kenya throughout the 1920s. Hatton was a celebrity in his day and was made even more famous by the 1937 book (and subsequent 1985 film) “Out of Africa” written by his once lover Baroness Karen Blixen under the pen name Isak Dinesen. Hatton was amongst the best hunters and guides of his day and was even the guide to the then Prince of Wales (later H.R.M., Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor) with his long time friend (and ex-husband to his lover) Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke.
The rifle is accompanied by letters from J. H. Esmeyer of South Africa attesting to the history of ownership, stating that it was left by Hatton
to his Niece, Lady Diana Tiarks whom in turn presented the rifle to him when her and her husband returned to England around 1954. It appears, however, that the rifle had a different original owner as the inscription shield in the stock shows a coronet with seven pearls over an “M”. The original owner cannot be confirmed without a doubt, but the most likely candidate is Sir Charles Markham, 2nd Baronet of Arusha, East Africa,
who was a close friend and hunting companion of Hatton and likely presented the rifle to him upon leaving Kenya for London. Hatton would have proceeded to use this fine rifle until his untimely death in an aviation accident in 1931, aged only 44.
action coming from the Steyr factory circa 1906, a Belgian proofed barrel with Steyr serial number “827” dating to circa 1900 rechambered by George Gibbs’ firm to .256 Gibbs Magnum with serial number “B3991” around
1920, and the triggerguard and double set triggers from a Mannlicher- Schoenauer carbine dating to circa 1924 with Gibbs serial number “B6769”. This rifle has the been there, done that look of a true African hunting rifle.
The rifle itself has a blued steel barrel with a flip-up hooded blade front sight, two folding leaf rear sight, “GEORGE GIBBS. BRISTOL & 35 SAVILE ROW. LONDON. W” marked between the rear sight and barrel band, “FOR/ GIBBS/.256/MAGNUM/CARTRIDGE/ONLY” at the breech, and London nitro proofs. The barrel band is also part of the takedown mechanism for
the rifle. The rifle appears to have been put together during the period of use with
parts from three different rifles. The consignors notes list the stock and

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