Holland & Holland firearms

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2015-06-26 11:03:11

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Holland & Holland firearms are guns produced by British firearm manufacturer Holland & Holland from the year 1835.

Background & history of production

Holland & Holland was founded by Harris Holland in 1835. There are several guns bearing the inscription H. Holland with no address, and it is likely these were built in the trade but to his design prior to his establishing his own manufacturing plant in the 1850s. His nephew Henry Holland joined him as an apprentice in 1861, who became a partner in 1867, and the name changed to Holland & Holland in 1876.

In 1883, Holland & Holland won the rifle category of the Field Magazine gun trials, setting a competitive standard of excellence among English gunmakers. In 1885, patents were granted to the company for their Paradox gun, a shotgun with two inches of rifling in the front of the barrel, intended to be used as both a rifle and a shotgun. These guns were intended for use by hunters in India and Africa, their interchangeable nature making them useful for both large and small game without having to carry multiple guns.

In 1908, they patented the detachable lock feature with small lever for use in sidelock shotguns. In 1922, Holland & Holland patented the assisted-opening mechanism, the last major development in the evolution of the sidelock side-by-side gun and was hugely influential.

Holland & Holland also created a number of very well known calibres, mostly for use in hunting. They are romantically associated with the golden age of safaris and game hunting.

Following World War II, the company travelled to Indian and bought back guns that had been owned by princes and maharajahs. They developed the market for second hand pieces with an interesting provenance.

In 1989, all remaining shares in Holland & Holland were bought by Chanel. They now produce hand built luxury guns costing around £60,000-£100,000, in the old styles. They are the only gunmakers, aside from James Purdey and Sons, to hold a British Royal Warrant.

Collecting guide

Holland & Holland guns are highly collectible, associated as they are with royalty, hunting, and safari. They were often engraved or embellished attractively. They become more valuable when associated with an interesting historical figure.

Notable auction sales

  • Holland & Holland .465 Nitro express royal ejector double rifle, sold for $57,500 at Heritage Auctions in September 2011.
  • Holland & Holland, fine pair of 12-bore Casbard engraved Model de Luxe self-opening sidelock ejector guns, sold for £60,000 at Sotheby’s in August 2006.
  • Holland & Holland, pair of 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector guns, sold for £60,500 at Christie’s in May 2008.
  • Holland & Holland 28-bore Royal single-trigger over-and-under sidelock ejector gun, sold for £69,310 at Christie’s in March 2004.
  • Holland & Holland set of six wildfowl and wader guns, six single-trigger Royal de Luxe model self-opening sidelock ejector guns from 1983, sold for $350,500 at Sotheby’s in June 2010

Notable models of Holland & Holland firearms

  • Paradox gun
  • Royal model sidelock ejector gun
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