Bonhams to sell one of the world's first machine guns

45 Caliber

45 Caliber

2016-10-20 14:01:20

One of the world's first-ever machine guns is set to fire up bidders at Bonhams in December.

The historic weapon will be one of the star lots of the Daedalus Collection, an assemblage of 141 antique and vintage firearms renowned for its scope and quality.

The Nordenfelt .43 mechanical gun was one of the earliest machine guns ever created. Designed circa 1873 by the Swedish engineer Helge Palmcrantz, the gun 100 was capable of firing around 100 rounds a minute per barrel, based on the speed of the operator.

The large weapon featured ten barrels in a horizontal line, firing ammunition gravity-fed from a hopper, and was manoeuvred on a set of spoked wooden wheels.

The model was used by the British Navy in Egypt in 1882, and some accompanied General Hicks’ expedition to the Sudan in 1883.

The guns were still in service in 1889 at the battle of Toski in Egypt, but had been phased out by the British army by 1891 to be replaced by the Maxim gun.

Today, just two further examples of the Nordenfelt .43 mechanical gun are known to exist - one in the collections of the Musée de l'Armée, Paris and the other at the Australia War Memorial in Victoria, Australia.

The example offered at Bonhams is now expected to sell for £50,000 - £70,000 ($61,185 - $85,660).

A highly rare 7.65x25mm Waffenfabrik Loewe C-93 System Borchardt Patent self-loading pistol; a .45 Sharps 1874 Model breech-loading centre-fire 'buffalo' rifle; and an 1873 Winchester rifle reportedly owned by a Blackfoot Indian warrior who fought at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

"This is a collection put together with scholarship, care and passion," said David Williams, Bonhams Director of the Antique Arms and Armour Department.

"Not only are many of the pieces imbued with a rich history, but the Collection as a whole is testament to the collector’s inimitable eye for condition."

The Bonhams sale of the Daedalus Collection takes place in London on December 1.

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