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A collection of fine and rare sporting and military firearms from the Royal Household of the late King Alfonso XIII of Spain (17 May 1886 - 28 February 1941).
The following 49 Lots (146 to the end of the sale) form a representative group illustrating King Alfonso XIII's passion for shooting in many forms and also his appreciation for fine firearms whilst embracing new technologies.
Alfonso was an extremely accomplished shot and hunted throughout Europe in the company of fellow monarchs and heads of state. The broad range of firearms in the collection bears testament to acquisitions on his trips, and 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 and whose pieces are beautifully represented in the collection. The 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 present group includes four live pigeon guns, one of which by J. Purdey & Sons was, according to its dedication, won in 1921 by Alfonso in a live pigeon competition in Madrid (Lot 193).
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. A number of presentation pieces are included from domestic and foreign makers and include a magnificent gold-encrusted Garate 'Tigre' carbine (Lot 146), a very popular Spanish version of the Winchester Model 1892, and perhaps the finest extant example of a Mondragon self-loading service rifle (Lot 160) with gold-inlaid presentation dedication which can only be seen as an attempt to persuade Alfonso to trial this innovative Mexican-designed rifle for the army.
Consigned by a direct descendant of the King, this collection represents a unrivalled opportunity for collectors and shooting enthusiasts to own a piece of royal history.