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PURDEY 450 3 1/4" BPE- A TOTALLY ORIG 1877 RIFLE & CASE- MADE for THE EARL of FIFE & OWNED by PRINCE ARTHUR the DUKE of CONNAUGHT- BORES LIKE NEW
#9768, J. Purdey & Sons Audley House, South Audley Street, London: A Totally Original 1877 Purdey Jones Action Underlever Back-Action Island Lock (Isolated Lock) Non-Rebounding Hammer 450 3 1/4" Black Powder Express Double Rifle Completed by Purdey on April 10, 1877 for The Earl of Fife, 28" Steel fully rifled barrels, Full length rib with 1 standing & 1 folding rear sights that are platinum or silver lined, Originally in 1877 this gun was delivered with 28" damascus barrels using a Eley Coiled Brass case; The Earl of Fife apparently knew times were changing so it went back to Purdey in 1891 for a New set of steel barrels and re-shot with 450 3 1/4" solid drawn brass case with 3 3/4 drams with a Eley papered bullet (All Lettered by Purdey), Percussion style fences, Stalking hammer safeties, Dolphin hammers, Side clip action body, Full length trigger guard tang to a steel engraved grip cap, Extremely solid and sound wood with very good color & contrast with deep browns and black, Shadowline cheekpiece, No sling eyes, Cross bolting wedge forend tiedown, 14" LOP over a steel buttplate inscribed "Charge 3 3/4 Drams No.6 Powder", 8 lbs. 1 oz., 65% coverage of Purdey's classic fine scroll engraving by J. Mace (He got about 4 lbs. & 7 schillings for the engraving; in 1877 that was about $22 US), The original & honest barrel blue remains at 85% with near perfect striking, This piece has 15% remaining case colors, The butt & forend are as solid as they were 140 years ago, The original stock finish is at 75% and never refinished, The original checkering remains at 90%, The bores remain today like they did in 1891 and are absolutely excellent plus with square rifling the entire way. The whole is cased in the factory original oak & leather trunk with the original trade label, original cleaning gear and a paper box (Photos) with strikers, springs and an extra side pin engraved with the serial number. This is an incredible 140 year old Classic Purdey package that is totally original with bores like new. This Purdey, #9768, cost 89 pounds & 5 schillings in 1877, about $477 US at the time. The new barrels in 1891 were about $107 U.S. Purdey had the gun in June of 1926 and sent it off to the house named Fosters. This piece always went back & forth to Purdey as the original case has 2 end labels from Purdey marked for Prince Arthur of Connaught. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn; May 1, 1850 – January 16, 1942) was a member of the British Royal Family who served as the Governor General of Canada, the tenth since Canadian Confederation. //////////////// //////////////////////////// The firm of Purdey from 1880 to 2000 made only 327 double barrel hammer rifles and from 1857 to 1880 they made a total of 312; a span of 143 years for a total of 639. I rather doubt that many of the 639 exist in this original condition with bores like new, stout wood and a superb action body. Prior to 1880 Purdey built 27 single barrel rifles and I believe all of these were flintlock or percussion. From 1880 to 2000 Purdey built only 209 single barrel rifles in all calibers and types; hammer, hammerless and even bolt rifles. The first Purdey recorded hammerless gun was a 12 bore gun #10106 that was tested on September 26, 1877. Hammerless guns were very uncommon in the 1870's and it would not be until 1886 that more were produced than hammer guns. The year of 1886 was the watershed year for the changeover to hammerless guns. No sporting gun maker has a better fit of history, image and prestige than James Purdey. There are double rifles and then there are serious double rifles. If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fine guns. //////////////////////////////////////// The earldom of Fife was resurrected in 1759 for William Duff, after he proved his descent from the original Earls of Fife. This title was in the Peerage of Ireland, notwithstanding that Fife is in Scotland. Most likely the gun was made for James Duff the 5th Earl of Fife. In 1845, he resided at 30 Pall Mall, London and at Delgatie Castle. Delgatie Castle is a castle near Turriff, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn was a member of the British Royal Family who served as the Governor General of Canada, the tenth since Canadian Confederation. Arthur was born at Buckingham Palace on May 1, 1850, the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In August 1899 the 6th Battalion, Rifles of the Canadian Non-Permanent Active Militia, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, asked Prince Arthur to give his name to the regiment and act as its honorary colonel. At St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, on 13 March 1879, Arthur married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, the daughter of Prince Frederick Charles. While in Canada it is on record that the Royal family also took to camping and other outdoor sports, such as hunting and fishing. There is a touch of Royalty to this original 1877 piece. The difference in liking a gun or loving a gun is in the details. Here is a 140 year old gun that is as intense as gravity near a black hole.