A Rare PAIR/BRACE of British Military Style Flintlock Pistols by RICHARDS
French & Indian War - American Revolutionary War Period
A Rare PAIR/BRACE of Antique British Military Style Flintlock Pistols by RICHARDS, circa. 1750's. 10", .68 caliber round steel barrels both stamped with early oval "PROOF" and "VIEW" marks with the barrel makers mark in-between "T R" (Thomas Richards). The convex locks are simply marked "RICHARDS" and made with early pans without bridles and early frizzen spring finials. Both pistols are in their original flintlock configuration. The brass furniture consists of butt caps and wrist escutcheons with decorative engraving and stylized Dragonesque or Serpent side plates. The trigger guards have round globular finials that are in the early form of those encountered on examples made during the Queen Anne through King George I period and are very similar to the Royal Navy Sea Service pattern. The stocks have carved military style raised Beavertail aprons around the barrel tangs and are solid with light scratches and dings from years of handling and service (see notes). Wood ramrods that may be the originals. A great pair of pistols in good mechanical working order that may have seen service in the French & Indian War through the American Revolution and possibly the War of 1812 !
The pistols measure 17.5" overall.
Note: One pistol stock has a sliver of wood repaired just forward of the lock on the upper edge that is almost undetectable and the same pistol exhibits evidence of a rodent gnawing on the lower edge of the lock mortise in the area just under the frizzen spring. The same pistol has a stress crack just above the rear side nail screw.
Additional Notes; There are varying opinions on exactly when these pistols were produced and for what purpose. The following is my opinion. The overall form reflects all the traits of being made for military purposes. Most likely, these pistols were made for private purchase for an Officer, Militia/Volunteer units or for the Merchant Marine. It is very possible that the maker Thomas Richards produced these pistols in hopes of a formal contract/purchase from the ordnance that never materialized. There were many makers that made arms very similar to the ordnance approved military patterns to supply all the other needs outside the primary military and this pistol may be one of them. The stylized Dragonesque or Serpent side plates are very similar to the early trade guns of the early to mid 18th century.
About the maker: Thomas Richards, Gunmaker, Birmingham, 1747- died in 1779 with guns bearing his name most likely by partner(s) or family until 1784. Registered silversmith's mark at Birmingham, 1773-1774.
Ref. p. 168. GUNMAKERS of LONDON 1350-1850 by, Howard L. Blackmore, c. 1986.