FROM THE ROYAL HOUSEHOLD
OF THE LATE KING
ALFONSO XIII OF SPAIN:
A FINE AND RARE COLLECTION OF FIREARMS
LEADS CHRISTIE’S SOUTH KENSINGTON
DECEMBER SALE OF SPORTING & MILITARY FIREARMS
South Kensington – Christie’s announces the December sale of Sporting & Military Firearms, which will be held at South Kensington on 15 December 2014. The sale presents two important collections: the first the Giovanni Gilardi collection, alongside a collection of firearms belonging to the late the King Alfonso XIII of Spain. This collection represents an unrivalled opportunity for collectors to own a piece of Spanish royal history. From flintlock to sidelock, the sale features sporting and military firearms that span two centuries of development and innovation, from the late 18th through to the late 20th century. Estimates range from £200 up to £125,000 and the pre-sale viewing will be open from 9 through to 15 December.
The auction features an unparalleled group of firearms from the royal household of the late King Alfonso XIII of Spain. This exceptional collection illustrates the King’s passion for shooting in many forms and his appreciation for fine firearms whilst embracing new technologies. King Alfonso XIII was an extremely accomplished shot who hunted throughout Europe in the company of fellow monarchs and heads of state. The broad range of firearms in the collection includes acquisitions from his trips, and bears testament to his patronage of some of the finest makers of the time, such as James Purdey & Sons in London and Victor Sarasqueta of Eibar, whom he appointed as his Royal Gunmaker in 1902. Many of Victor Sarasqueta’s pieces are represented in this collection, and highlights include a very fine 12-bore toplever pigeon hammergun (estimate: £1,500-2,000). Whilst the majority of the monogrammed guns in the collection can be attributed to Alfonso XIII, there are examples, noticeably amongst the small bore shotguns, bearing the crowned monograms of his sons Alfonso, Prince of Asturias, Jaime, Juan and Gonzalo.
The Spanish King was a champion live pigeon shot, a sport connected with the royal household since 1864, with many Real Sociedad de Tiro de Pichón being established in cities throughout Spain. The group offered in the December sale includes four live pigeon guns, one of which by J. Purdey & Sons was, according to its dedication, won in 1921 by the King in a live pigeon competition in Madrid (estimate: £20,000-25,000).
The collection of Giovanni Gilardi represents a lifetime interest in the study and collection of firearms, charting the evolution of the 18th century flintlock through to late 19th century cartridge loading repeater, with special emphasis on military longarms. The rapidity of industrial development witnessed in the 19th century is well illustrated through service longarms from Great Britain, the United States, Scandinavia and Continental Europe including many rare patterns seldom seen at auction, offering collectors a rare opportunity to view and acquire such an extensive and varied group. Highlights include a rare Danish 11mm lobnitz patent ‘m.1841’ breech-loading percussion service carbine (estimate: £600-800).
2014 marks the 200th anniversary of James Purdey establishing his business, James Purdey & Sons, in London. Arguably the most famous and respected name in sporting guns, Purdey continues to enjoy an exceptional reputation as a leader in the market. The December sale includes 13 lots of fine Purdey rifles and guns, including three pairs of guns and one pair of rifles made for a private collector, all with bespoke engraving and in new and unused condition. One of these is a magnificent pair of Ken Hunt gold-inlaid 12-bore single-trigger over and under sidelock ejector trap guns, completed in May 1996 (estimate: £115,000-125,000).
Please click here for the complete eCatalogue
Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).
Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).
Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.
Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats.
Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.
Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.