Guns Fit for a Maharajah on Offer at Christie's
An extremely rare and ornate pair of exhibition-grade gold-inlaid J. Purdey & Sons 12-bore shotguns stars in Christie's Exceptional and Fine Sporting Guns and Rifles sale in London today. Estimated at $320,000 - $400,000, the British-made shotguns contain an astounding amount of gold, accounting for the extremely high estimate. As Christie's notes, with the exception of weapons built for the Maharajahs of India, modern sporting guns were "only traditionally given gold inlay as a mild form of embellishment."
This extraordinary pair was actually inspired by gunsmith Ken Hunt's studies of arms and armor in the Tower of London, the Wallace Collection and the Victoria & Albert Museum. They are presented in a beautifully-crafted oak and leather case. Purdey, founded in 1814, holds numerous warrants of appointment as gun and rifle makers to the British and other European royal families. Queen Victoria purchased a pair of Purdey guns in 1838.