Antique Fauré Le Page firearms
Antique Fauré Le Page firearms are weapons manufactured by Fauré Le Page, a Parisian firearms manufacturer established by Louis Pigny in 1717, and run by the same family until 1913. Le Page managed to be the official supplier of every French government, and the store’s location put the business right at the heart of political events over the 18th – 19th centuries.
Background & history of production
Louis Pigny opened his modest shop in rue Baillif in 1717, received two royal warrants from King Louis XV, and passed his business on to his niece’s husband, Pierre Le Page.
Pierre, a very accomplished artillery and explosives manufacturer, became the supplier of firearms in Paris to the House of Orleans and the Maréchal Maurice de Saxe. He renamed the company Le Page, and acquired an excellent reputation among aristocratic clientele. He left the company to his nephew Jean Le Page.
Jean Le Page continued the success of his predecessors as gunsmith to the House of Orleans, King Louis XVI, of the First Consul Bonaparte and then Emperor Napoleon I and King Louis XVIII. The factory is famous for its pistols, guns, luxury white arms and page swords during the First French Empire. During this era, many technical innovations were made such as over oxygenated powder in 1810, a water resistant gun in 1817, and invented the fulminate percussion system for firearms which replaced the flintlock.
Jean Le Page cemented the company’s reputation and position in history. As a gunsmith he is mentioned in numerous pieces of literature, and the firearms produced during this period are those most sought after and displayed in museums and the like, particularly due to their often famous provenance. He was succeeded by his fourth child, Jean Andre Prosper Henri Le Page, in 1822.
In 1835, Jean Andre was named the ‘Arquebusier Ordinaire of the King, of the Duke of Orleans, and the Duke of Numours’. He expanded the international reputation of Le Page, taking part in many Paris Exhibitions. The French Military Commission ordered six hundred percussion lock guns with snap clasp in 1838. Jean Le Page also testified against Napoleon Bonaparte. His son in law took the reins in 1842, and soon made his nephew Emile Henri Faure Le Page his business partner.
Henri Le Page became the sole owner in 1868. The international clientele expanded, and he became a warranted supplier to the Russian Imperial Court. He received several medals throughout his career and was ordained Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 1878, and Officer de la Legion d’Honneur in 1894.
The company was taken over by Dumond in 1913, but kept its illustrious brand name.
Since the history of this company spans 200 years, collectors may want to focus on one particular era of Le Page production. It may be more common to find these weapons in France or the rest of Europe.
Price guide and notable auction sales
Le Page firearms tend to sell for a few thousand at auction, unless they are connected with a significant historical figure, in which case the worth rises.
- Rare Le Page Boy’s Percussion Musket, owned by Prince Leopold of Belgium, c.1865. Sold for $2,530 at Heritage Auctions in April 2012.
- Pair of 12-bore sidelock ejector guns by Henri Faure Le Page, sold for £5,750 by Christie’s in December 1997.
- 16-bore French D. B. Single-Trigger Percussion Sporting Gun in the Gothic Taste, made by Henri Le Page for his own use, dated 1842. Sold for £7,000 by Bonhams in November 2005.
- Rare French pill-lock rifled target pistol be Le Page, dated 1811, sold for £7,800 at Sotheby’s in June 2003.
- Fine cased pair of 40-bore French Percussion duelling pistols, likely earned by George Charles Bingham Earl of Lucan, dated 1830, sold for £18,000 at Bonhams in November 2005.
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