Peter Finer

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A Pair of South German Wheel-Lock Holster Pistols (Puffer), Augsburg, c. 1585-90

Item Ref: 2066 Price on application

2066 1
2066 20
2066 21

Southern Germany, Augsburg. Wood, iron, gold, copper and staghorn.


Private collection, Europe

Heer, Eugène, Der Neue Støckel, Vol II, Schwäbisch Hall 1979, p. 1090 

Augsburg wheel-lock firearms bearing the same barrel-maker’s mark are preserved in a number of institutional collections; these include the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, the Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum, Budapest, the Musée de l’Armée, Paris, and the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva. 

The example in the latter collection is a very rare superimposed-load carbine (Inv. K 184) attributed to circa 1585. The treatment of the chiselled decorative bands on the barrel and on the barrels of the present pair of pistols is identical.

A pair of wheel-lock puffer pistols with the stocks and pommels decorated with comparable inset strips of gilt-copper is preserved in the Rothschild collection at Waddesdon Manor. 

The barrels formed in two stages with lightly swamped muzzles, decorated with chiselled and gilt bands of foliage at the muzzles, at the median and over the breeches, and the breeches stuck with Augsburg mark and barrel-maker’s mark, in a shield the initials I.R, a coronet above and a mullet beneath (Neue Støckel 3541). The locks each fitted with external wheel retained by a flat gilt-iron cover pierced and engraved with monsters, safety-catch and dog-spring bridle each of gilt-iron, and sliding pan-cover engraved with a mythical beast. With wooden full stocks blackened in imitation of ebony and inlaid with contrasting white staghorn, predominantly as a series of finely engraved plaques, including pairs of grotesque half-figures about the barrel tangs, grotesque human rollwerk masks forward of the trigger-guards, warriors’ heads capping the ramrod apertures, boar-hunting scenes opposite the locks, winged putti heads placed throughout, plain segmental lines, and all arranged within an elaborate series of border panels engraved characteristically with varieties of ornament. The butts inset about their bases and over the lengths of their upper and lower surfaces with gilt-copper strips cast in low relief with small cartouche patterns. The pommels segmented by matching gilt-copper strips, additionally inset with a series of gilt copper lion mask bosses cast in high relief, and each centring on a gilt-copper rondel plaque decorated with a battle scene in low relief. With moulded gilt-iron trigger-guards, engraved horn fore-end caps, engraved horn ramrod-pipes, retaining the original wooden ramrods with iron tips matching the iron bands over the ramrod-pipes, and in fine condition throughout. 

Size: Length of each pistol 55 cm / 21.7 in