The last new gun that John Wilkes built, and remains in new and unfired condition, having been displayed in Wilkes premises at 79 Beak Street, London W1 for a number of years prior to Wilkes closure in 2003 will be offered in Gavin Gardiner Ltd
s sale of Modern & Vintage Sporting Guns & Rifles which takes place on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at Sothebys New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA.
The fine Game Scene engraved 12-bore single trigger sidelock ejector gun was completed in 1992. It has 28-inch chopper lump barrels with 2 3/4-inch chambers, with half and full choke borings. The frame and locks are profusely engraved with foliate scroll engraving in relief surrounding gold game scenes, the lockplates being signed in gothic script. It retains all of its original hardening colour. The highly figured 15 1/2-inch stock has a Prince of Wales grip and weighs 6lb.10oz. It is estimated at £24,000-28,000.
Specialist in charge, Gavin Gardiner, commented: Wilkes were the last of the family owned jobbing London gunmakers and could trace its origins back to 1820. The brothers, Tom and John were fifth generation gunmakers, and were among the great characters in the London trade. The gun bears all of the typical Wilkes hallmarks of quality, style and finish, remains unused and is sold following the death of both Wilkes brothers.
Another interesting conversation piece in the sale is a scarce 13mm Mauser Tankgewhr anti-tank rifle, dating to 1918, the worlds first anti tank rifle. This example although worn overall is expected to sell for between £2,500-3,500.
The sale will include in the region of 250 lots including many examples by the top London Gunmakers. A rare 12-bore hammer gun by Boss & Co, built in 1871. Estimated at £2,500-3,500, this rare gun unusually incorporates Purdeys patent thumblever opening, a feature that combined with the Purdey underbolt, revolutionised the rapid reloading of guns of this period.
Elsewhere, two guns by Holland & Holland will be offered. A fine gamescene engraved 12-bore Royal De Luxe model self-opening sidelock ejector gun, which was completed in 1976 with 27-inch barrels is estimated at £16,000- 20,000, while a 12-bore Royal model self-opening sidelock ejector gun, built in 1960 carries an estimate of £10,000- 15,000.