Fine arms at Thomas Del Mar


22 November 2022
Pieces from Scotland and Wales will be among the highlights in Thomas Del Mar’s forthcoming sale of Fine Antique Arms, Armour & Militaria.
Fine arms at Thomas Del Mar Images

The auction will be held on Wednesday, 7 December 2022 at Olympia Auctions, 25 Blythe Road, London W14.

From the Collection of a Distinguished Scholar and Collector is a fine and rare Scottish backsword with signed basket-hilt by John Simpson the Elder of Glasgow. It dates from c. 1690-1700 and is estimated at £8,000-£10,000. From the same collection is an extremely rare Welsh Buckler (shield) from Wrexham, dating from 1440-1580 that is estimated at £6,000-£8,000.

Thomas Del Mar commented, “The robust design of these bucklers was clearly effective and it was perhaps this that brought them to the attention of King Henry VIII who had a number made for his guard, some of which are depicted being carried by various members of his entourage in the painting 'The Field of Cloth of Gold' preserved in the Royal Collection. Furthermore, the inventory of 1547 taken after Henry VIII's death records 'two wreckesham Buckelers'.”

Also with a Welsh connection is the horse furniture of General John Mostyn, c. 1760, with velvet housing and holster covers lavishly decorated in silver embroidery and estimated at £2,000-£3,000. General John Mostyn (1709-79) was the second son of Sir Roger Mostyn of Mostyn, Flintshire, Bt., M.P. (1673-1739) and his wife Lady Essex Finch, the daughter of the 7th Earl of Winchilsea. During his career, he acted as commander of the British forces in Germany. He was ambitious for further advancement, and wrote regularly to close friend, the Duke of Newcastle seeking his help in attaining such appointments. He was appointed as Colonel of the 1st Dragoon Guards in May 1763. He vacated his seat in the House of Commons to take up the governorship of Menorca in 1768 and was subsequently promoted to General in 1772.

Other Scottish items include the fine cased Scottish .451 calibre patent percussion rifle for sporting and target use made for Lord Archibald Campbell (1846-1913) - the second son of the 8th Duke of Argyll - by Edinburgh gunmaker Alexander Henry which is estimated at £7,000-£9,000, and carrying a similar estimate is a very rare 28 bore east Scottish flintlock belt pistol formed entirely of steel dating from the late 17th century.
Elsewhere, the silver-gilt mounted presentation mameluke sword awarded to Lieutenant General George Sir Ronald Scobie, K.B.E., C.B., M.C. by the Greek Army, by Wilkinson dating from 1946 is estimated at £8,000-£12,000.  It is decorated in the centre with a classical profile bust on one face and with the crowned Royal cypher 'GRVI' enclosed by the Most Noble Order of the Garter on the other. Sir Ronald Mackenzie Scobie (1893-1969) excelled at all sports and shortly before the outbreak of war played rugby for Scotland against England, Ireland, and Wales.

The first 87 lots of the sale consist of the Roy Elvis Collection of Indian Arms and Armour. Included will be a very fine and rare North Indian mail and plate shirt otherwise known as a zereh bagtar which dates from the 17th century.  It was probably made in Bijapur and is inscribed to Maharaja Anup Singh who reigned from 1669-98 (est: £6,000-£8,000).  Also from the Elvis Collection is a rare South Indian mail and plate helmet dating from the 16th/17th century, possibly originating from Hyderabad that carries an estimate of £3,000-£5,000.

With the sale being only 18 days before Christmas, there a few boys toys that could make good gifts. A finely constructed and highly detailed French model bronze cannon with a 6.7cm barrel and a 15.3cm limber and ammunition wagon, c. 1820 which is estimated at £2,000-£3,000, while a finely constructed contemporary brass model of a 68-pounder pivot gun for HMS Miranda, by GF Gosage, c. 1856-70 comprising a 27.5cm barrel with 1.7cm bore is expected to fetch £2,000-£3,500.

Two other interesting firearms in the sale are both by London-maker Joseph Egg. A fine and rare cased 120 bore silver-mounted single-trigger over and under percussion pistol dating from 1829 carries an estimate of £7,000-£9,000, while a cased silver-mounted 12 bore double-barrelled percussion sporting gun dating from 1820 is estimated at £2,000 -£3,000.


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