Liegoise Percussion Pistols Showcase 'Old World Quality'

It seems that every person has a different definition and/or assessment of the term "old world quality." For many Americans, both 19th and early 20th century upper crust domestic artifacts such as furniture, glassware, fine china, bronzes, clocks, etc. are the best representatives for this category. Auction houses have made a formidable business in purveying these mainstays of Americana to their well-heeled customers.

In the collectible firearms industry, "old world quality" can mean a lot of different things. Some shotgun collectors are now referring to Parker Reproductions shotguns manufactured in Japan during 1984-1989 as "old world Japanese quality." These early Parker Reproductions may represent the best quality firearms Japan has recently produced, and in that regard, pricing on some of the rarest higher grade 3-gauge sets has reached $50,000!

For this scribe, "old world quality" means European manufacture, and in the case of guns, nothing represents it better than a cased set (brace) of European percussion or flintlock pistols.


This exquisite cased set of .34 caliber Liegoise pistols was manufactured in Liege, Belgium, circa mid-19th century. As spectacular and ornate as the guns are, the elaborate accessories are breathtaking in both design and construction. Of special note are the carved ebony mallet and one-of-a-kind highly decorated solid sterling silver powder ladle with detachable fluted ebony handle.


Even the descriptive terminology used on an antique pair like this is unique. Most of you may not recognize some of the older verbiage in the following catalog description, since these words are certainly not used when describing most modern guns. The following description from Bonham's auction catalog is published verbatim:

Each pistol has a blued 10¼ inch .34 caliber fluted barrel, the alternate flutes with pale gilt finish, the faceted muzzle and breech sections etched and engraved with foliage. Side flats of barrels with Liege proofs, the undersides numbered 573 and marked with L Liege proof, the Liege perron mark and with the initials EB and LB, possibly for Eugene and Lambert Bernard. €¨€¨Breeches and tangs etched and engraved with scrolls and foliage in-the-white on a dark pebbled ground and numbered I and II respectively, Tangs with adjustable rear sights. Set triggers. Detented locks and spur triggerguards decorated en suite to breeches. Domed buttcaps and darkened finish and chiseled in high relief with stems and leafage around turned tapering finials. €¨€¨Ebony half-stocks finely relief carved with C-scrolls, shells, and foliage, barrel channel of No. 2 with stockmaker's mark JNI. Complete with original brass-banded mahogany case, the lid inlaid with engraved brass scrollwork in the Boulle style and centering a vacant escutcheon, fitted blue velour-lined interior. Retaining the complete group of highly decorated accessories including: steel bullet mold, wad cutter, loading rod and powder measure, all with engraved and chiseled panels of leafy vines, spring vines, nipple pick and rear sight key, all decorated en suite, the bows pierced and chiseled with viticulture, screwdriver, nipple wrench, and ladle, all with fluted ebony grips, the ladle with baluster-form neck engraved and chiseled en suite to the set; ebony charger flask, oiler, patch box, and cap box, all finely carved with leafage, ebony mallet with fluted handle, the head relief carved with viticulture and blossoms, the faces set with silver panels cast and chased with leaves and tendrils.

Condition: NRA Antique Excellent


So what's this one-of-a-kind cased set worth? Good question, and an auction may be one of the few ways to realistically obtain an accurate value. Bonham's recently sold this pair at its June 11 auction in San Francisco for $26,910, including the 17% buyer's premium. The pre-auction estimate was $30,000-$40,000. In this writer's opinion, this gavel price almost seems undervalued — maybe even a bargain. Maybe the best thing about such a unique set is that if/when the new buyer decides to sell, there will be no competition!

The author wishes to thank Mr. James Ferrell, Paul Carella, and Laura King from Bonham's & Butterfields for allowing Blue Book Publications, Inc. to use these images and information for this article. For more from S.P. Fjestad, check out his blog at BlueBookOfGunValues.com.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Cameras Don

Cameras Don't Lie: Subsonic 9mm vs. .300 Blackout

In this segment of "Cameras Don't Lie," a subsonic-ammo showdown, 9mm vs. .300 Blackout fired from AR rifles.

Air Gun Reviews: Why Shoot Airsoft?

Air Gun Reviews: Why Shoot Airsoft?

In this Guns & Ammo TV segment, Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr discuss the benefits of airsoft training for uniformed professionals and armed citizens alike.

Guns & Ammo TV: Wheelgun vs. Pistol

Guns & Ammo TV: Wheelgun vs. Pistol

In this segment of “Pros vs. Joes,” we put competitive shooter and author James Tarr against Guns & Ammo TV cameraman Nathan Wilt. With handguns, they see who can knock down plates the fastest on two Revolution Targets Heavy Duty Plate Racks. Here's the catch: Tarr has to use a Colt King Cobra in .357 Mag. while Wilt shoots a Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 in 9mm.

Guns & Ammo TV: 6.5 Creedmoor vs. .375 H&H

Guns & Ammo TV: 6.5 Creedmoor vs. .375 H&H

The 6.5 Creedmoor and the .375 H&H are almost complete opposites, or are they? The 6.5 Creedmoor is a newer and popular cartridge that transcends long-range precision rifle shooting and hunting big game. The .375 H&H is more than a century old, but still a popular and versatile choice for hunting big and dangerous game. For this shoot, Pro Tom Beckstrand, former U.S. Army Special Operations officer and sniper team leader, faces off against Guns & Ammo TV cameraman Ben LaLonde in a challenge that highlights the differences between these two cartridges.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a zeroed rifle scope. Here's how to sight in your rifle scope setup in five quick-and-easy steps. How-To

How to Sight In a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps

Craig Boddington - June 04, 2018

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a...

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box racehorse ready to help you win 3-Gun matches. Here's why. Reviews

Savage MSR 15 Competition Review

James Tarr - May 21, 2019

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box racehorse ready to help you win 3-Gun...

In this segment of “At The Range,” Handgunning Editor Jeremy Stafford and contributor Patrick Sweeney compare the visibility of red and green lasers in outdoor, sunny conditions. Accessories

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 24, 2020

In this segment of “At The Range,” Handgunning Editor Jeremy Stafford and contributor Patrick...

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an engineering degree to tinker with; here's a look at some upgrade options to take your Ruger American to the next level, and make it something a bit different. Accessories

Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades

Philip Massaro - March 15, 2018

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an...

See More Trending Articles

More News

Support from the firearm industry continues to build as we learn how to serve those who are serving us. Once we recover from coronavirus' aftermath, I hope that we never forget the businesses who have chosen to be there for America's heroes unconditionally.  News

Thank You – A Salute to First Responders

Eric R. Poole - August 18, 2020

Support from the firearm industry continues to build as we learn how to serve those who are...

The editorial staff of Guns & Ammo has put together a one-of-a-kind Gear Box with their favorite items from their most recent testing and reviews. Industry

Guns & Ammo Gear Box

Guns & Ammo Staff

The editorial staff of Guns & Ammo has put together a one-of-a-kind Gear Box with their...

True Velocity officials confirmed recently that the Texas-based technology company delivered more than 170,000 rounds of its 6.8mm TVCM lightweight ammunition to the U.S. Army in May as part of the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) program. Military & Law Enforcement

True Velocity Delivers 'Next Gen' 6.8mm Ammo to U.S. Army

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 05, 2020

True Velocity officials confirmed recently that the Texas-based technology company delivered...

Fiocchi announced plans for a significant investment in a new, independent manufacturing facility in Little Rock, Arkansas. This plan is part of an ongoing strategic initiative by Fiocchi of America and the Italy-based Fiocchi Group to expand its U.S. and international operations. Industry

Fiocchi Announces Industrial Expansion in Arkansas

Guns & Ammo Staff - July 31, 2020

Fiocchi announced plans for a significant investment in a new, independent manufacturing...

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now