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Excellent Pair of British Officer's Cavalry Pistols, 1790s

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An especially handsome and interesting pair of British Flintlock Officer's Cavalry Pistols of the period 1785 - 1815.

These very interesting pistols feature slightly swamped round brass barrels of an unusually large .70 caliber bore.  Both barrels are engraved, "P. C. WOOD L.Y.C.". Their original flintlocks are of conventional form and marked, "ANDERSON". The pistol's walnut stocks follow the design of British Cavalry/Dragoon pistols of the 1790s and are brass mounted. The stocks also have the unusual features of a considerable amount of original silver wire inlay at their wrists, and silver butt caps. We are quite sure the "P.C.Wood L.Y.C." atop both barrels is the name of the officer for which these pistols were custom built.

It is unusual to find British 18th century officer's pistols with their names engraved on the barrels. It is also unusual tro find a pair of officers pistols differing in any way from a quite standard form. These are a very individualistic pair of pistols. A provincial officer having a pair of pistols built to his personall specifications by a regional gunmaker could well be expected to have his name boldly featured.   

The "L.Y.C." markings would stand for 'Light Yeoman Cavalry', or possibly for 'Leicestershire Yeoman Cavalry'....or some other district's s yeoman cavalry. In the chaotic years following the French Revolution and renewed conflict between Britain and France volunteer 'Yeoman Cavalry' and 'Yeoman Infantry' regiments were formed to defend the British Isles from an expected French invasion. Numbers of these regiments continued being active into the 1830s and some were incorporated into the regular British Army.

The "ANDERSON" marking on the locks of these pistols would be the name of the gunmaker. Several gunmakers produced arms in the British Isles in the latter 18th century. We believe the "Anderson" who built this pair was a provincial gunmaker since the barrels do not bear either London or Birmingham proofmarks. The work of provincial British gunmakers and makers in Ireland and Scotland are often seen without London or Birmingham proofs. A provincial gunmaker's pride and/or political opinions, not to mention their customer's impatiernce to receive the product, often precluded sending their work to some distant 'third party'. The bottom of each barrel bears a crown over 'IF' mark which we have not been able to locate (numbers of British gunmakers obtained their barrels from specialist barrel makers).

Both engraved silver buttcaps bear very small sterling silver British Isles hallmarks of the period, but due to their size and placement on irregular curved surfaces we can't clearly identify them.

It is likely that further research might well unearth a most interesting history for this specially ordered, exceptionally attractive, and well made pair of pistols.

This impressive pair of pistols is in excellent original flintlock condition. The barrel marks are clear and the brass has a lovely deep patina. The locks and breechplugs are excellent with clear markings and fine natural steel patina. Mechanical condition is fine (we think one interior mainspring is a period replacement). The very well designed and substiantial brass furniture is excellent with lovely deep patina. The walnut stocks are excellent with retaining all their lovely silver wire inlay and old finish / surface. The brass mounted ram rods appear original and are excellent condition. these pistols have been very well cared for over two hundred years.

Overall these are a particularly good looking pair of specially ordered British Cavalry Officer's pistols from an important historical period in excellent original condition.

Dimensions: overall length 13 1/4", barrel length 8", bore .70 caliber

Price: $3150.00

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