Holt’s have enjoyed big sales of late – and with a change of address and even more hammer action on the horizon, Jonathan Downs gathers for a Holt’s extravaganza.



Blackheath, London – 13 December 2018

Lot 1320 – Fine pair of Purdey 16-bore sidelock ejectors, est. £14,000-£18,000, sold £19,000.

Lot 1223 – Big-game John Rigby .470 Nitro Express sidelock ejector double rifle, est. £15,000-£20,000, sold £28,000.











Hammer prices at Holt’s December auction topped £700,000. In the figures and stats, UK buyers are still showing strongest in sales at 58 per cent (up from 42 per cent), European at 21 per cent and US buyers still quite good at 14 per cent.

Top seller was Lot 1641, a sublime Holland & Holland – a Sporting Model 20-bore over-and-under ejector, rising beyond its estimate of £20,000-£25,000 to hit £28,000, sold to an internet buyer. Lot 1223 also went renegade, a fine big-game John Rigby .470 Nitro Express sidelock ejector double rifle that defied its £15,000-£20,000 estimate and also went for a worthy £28,000.

Holts say that 16-bore guns were in great demand, and Lot 1320 saw a fine pair of Purdey 16-bore sidelock ejectors (estimated at £14,000-£18,000) make £19,000. Condition is always paramount in determining value and Lot 525 saw a Thomas Boss percussion shot and ball gun from 1854, (often known as ‘buck ’n’ ball’, a method of packing the musket barrel with shot or loose stones like a blunderbuss as well as a ball and wadding); this excellent piece made £3,000 above the value of such a gun in lesser condition.

Add rarity, and the value increases as in Lot 620, a Needham 28-bore needle-fire rifle in its original case that made £4300 within its estimate of £3,000-£5,000. Winchester rifles are always in great demand in the USA and many US buyers scope out foreign sales to find a bargain: Lot 630 might have been one – a rare .32-40 Take-Down Deluxe Short Rifle M1899, estimated at £2,500-£3,000, went for a yee-hah of £3,400 (that’s a touch under $4,400 on the wild frontier). For further details see the link at the bottom.


Kensington, London – 19 March 2019

Lot 1206: 8×57 JRS Jaeger Patent push-forward underlever sidelock ejector double rifle By H. Scheiring, est. £20,000-£25,000.

Lot 1300: Pair of lightweight 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejectors by J. Purdey & Sons, est. £15,000-£20,000.











The next Holt’s auction of Fine Modern & Antique Guns is here – but, please note, at a new location. They have a new auction venue in Central London with all-new Preview and Auction dates. Head for the Army Reserve Centre, Adam and Eve Mews, in Kensington, London W8 6TN.

Holt’s will be adjusting their timetable of sales, and preview days will include the weekends before the auction. So, this month the viewing days will be 16-18 March with the auction itself set to take place at 10am on Tuesday 19th.

‘We anticipate this will encourage a greater number of potential bidders to our rooms and improve accessibility to those who are not in a position to take time out from work to attend,’ said Andrew Orr of Holt’s, ‘and the venue is just minutes from High St Kensington Underground Station.’ Couldn’t be easier.

At the moment there are a few pieces to keep an eye out for: Lot 1206 is a fine 8×57 JRS Jaeger Patent push-forward under-lever sidelock ejector double rifle By H. Scheiring, estimated at £20,000-£25,000; Lot 1300 is a pair of lightweight 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejectors by J. Purdey & Sons, at a bargain estimate of between £15,000 and £20,000.

But the big gun of the highlights is Lot 1605, a fine and exceptionally rare 12-bore (3in.) ‘Zenith’ bolting-sidelever double-trigger over-and-under, with triggerplate-action ejector, by Churchill Gunmakers Ltd. This is a special one, so don’t miss out – the estimate stands at £30,000-£50,000.

Remember the new venue at High St Kensington and follow the link to www.holtsauctioneers.com/auctions for further lots in the March sale.

Additionally Holt’s online catalogue can be viewed online by visiting auctions.holtsauctioneers.com.


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