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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This pair of antique pistols has been called dueling pistols by some and target pistols by others. Each pistol is 16 inches long and 7 inches high with a 9 1/2 inch barrel. The guns are numbered "1" and "2". Inscribed on the top of the barrel is: Fr. Jaeger Hofbuchenmachen Wiesbaden. On one side of the barrel is inscribed "Guss" and on the other side "Stahl". I think he caliber is .36

Please help identify and value these pieces. Thanks, in advance, for any and all information. Doug

PS: I several more pics but only 4 were allowed.
 

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A beautiful pair of pistols and refreshingly plain for that era. A Google search turned up other guns by Fr. (Franz?) Jaeger, most very elaborately engraved and inlaid.

"Hofbüchsenmacher" means gun maker to the court, presumably at that time (c. 1840-1850) the court of the Duke of Nassau whose seat was at Wiesbaden. That does not mean that the guns were made for the Duke (it is like the British "By Appointment To..."), and the guns' plainness indicates they were made for someone far less wealthy than they Duke of Nassau.

Wiesbaden is in the south of Germany, near Frankfurt am Main, and is (or was) the site of a large U.S. Army installation.

I don't think they are duelling pistols, because true duellers would be smoothbore and have no sights or only a front sight. I would call them high quality target pistols. The pistols are certainly German with something of the French influence. I would value the pair at around $4000, much more if there is a case with accessories.

Jim
 

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If you plan to sell them, my suggestion for appraisal and exposure would be one of the large gun auctions, such as Rock Island in IL, Amoskeag in NH, or Bonhams in CA.
Jim K & hrf,

In your opinion, which of the three actions mentioned would be best for my pistols? Thanks for your thoughts. DBM
 

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For comparison is a similar pair, but duelling pistols, from collectorsfirearm.com. Arguably the largest dealer in collectible guns - and for sure up there in pricing. Like a few others, you pay for the confidence you gain in dealing with a merchant of EXE repute.

http://www.collectorsfirearms.com/pair-of-belgian-made-dueling-pistols-ah3153/

If this doesn't bring up the pictures, go to-- collectorsfirearms.com --and find it with all their perc pistols.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrf
If you plan to sell them, my suggestion for appraisal and exposure would be one of the large gun auctions, such as Rock Island in IL, Amoskeag in NH, or Bonhams in CA.
Jim K & hrf,

In your opinion, which of the three actions mentioned would be best for my pistols? Thanks for your thoughts. DBM
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hrf
If you plan to sell them, my suggestion for appraisal and exposure would be one of the large gun auctions, such as Rock Island in IL, Amoskeag in NH, or Bonhams in CA.
Jim K & hrf,

In your opinion, which of the three actions mentioned would be best for my pistols? Thanks for your thoughts. DBM
I listed those three to cover midwest and both coasts, but have no direct experience with them.

However, I'm impressed by Rock Island's marketing.
 

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I have heard good things about Rock Island, but have no personal experience.

A note just to say that a case (casing) is always good to have with any antique pistol, but cased pairs are common and not necessarily indicative of duelling pistols. Just FWIW, here are a few things to look for on duellers. Not all will apply and there are regional and national variations:

1. Dull appearance; no shiny surfaces that could reflect light into the eyes of either the holder or his oppponent (remember, the principals did not know which one would have which pistol).
2. Natural pointing from the raise pistol position. There was no time to aim and most versions of the code banned guns with sights, or at least rear sights.
3. Large caliber, .45 or over. Small calibers are usually target pistols.
4. No rifling. Again, there were variants to the code, but in general rifling was prohibited. (A few guns were made with rifling that ended short of the muzzle and was invisible; needless to say the use of such a trick was considered contemptible.)
5. Very well made. Those who participated in formal duels were usually wealthy and their pistols reflected that. Needless to say, reliability was paramount.

Duelling pistols were not always the property of one of the participants. Seconds could provide the weapons, and gun makers frequently rented pairs of pistols. ("Hurts Rent-a-Duel - Ten Dollars a Day and 10 Cents a Shot.")

Jim
 
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