John Easterby, London. Rare early pair of 19-bore, silver mounted, breech loading, English turn-off  pistols, ca. 1725 - SOLD

ŠAll Photos copyright Lewis Drake and Associates
John Easterby, London. Rare early pair of 19-bore, silver mounted, breech loading, English turn-off  pistols, ca. 1725. Overall length 13 ½”.  Beautiful 7 ½”, 4-stage, cannon barrels. Signed, “Easterby Londini” on the breech flat beneath the flash pan. The beautifully filed and engraved breech is formed in one piece with the lock plate and the top strap is secured to the breech by a screw, both features typical of Easterby pistols, which makes for an incredibly strong action. The London proof marks and maker’s mark are partially covered by the trigger guard finial another characteristic feature of Easterby pistols. The locks are of absolutely peerless quality with nicely filed frizzen springs. Another interesting feature is the raised lip around the pan which fits into a corresponding cut-out in the pan cover providing a waterproof seal. All these features found on only the highest quality firearms of the day. Handsome silver mounts with elaborate decorative silver inlays around the breech tang. Silver wrist escutcheons engraved with an outstretched arm with raised halberd should be researched. Excellent bores and the locks mechanically perfect. The figured walnut stocks with a very minor repair to one pistol otherwise both pistols are original and in perfect working order.

John Easterby, located in Charing Cross, England, was listed as a “Foreign” gunmaker allowed to prove guns by the Gunmaker’s Company from 1721 till 1731.  A rather terse notation from the record states he was threatened with prosecution (reason not stated) in 1729 and the last reference to him in the gun maker’s records was in 1732. That interesting bit aside, John Easterby was a superb craftsman as these guns and a few other surviving examples will attest. A similar, though not quite so elaborate, pair of pistols by Easterby are pictured in “Great British Gunmaker’s, 1540 - 1740”,  by Keith Neal and David Back, pp.452.