Personal, Gold-Encrusted Carbine of King Louis XV to lead Julia Firearms Auction
The trigger area detail from the one-of-a-kind German Sebastian Hauschka rifle, made for gun enthusiast and avid hunter King Louis XV of France. It is expected to be among the highlights in the upcoming Outstanding Firearms Auction to be hosted by James D. Julia, Inc., on March 11-12, 2013.
FAIRFIELD, Maine — A one-of-a-kind German Sebastian Hauschka rifle—literally fit for a king—will be among the highlights in the upcoming Outstanding Firearms Auction to be hosted by James D. Julia, Inc., on March 11-12, 2013.
This world-class lot—made for gun enthusiast and avid hunter King Louis XV of France—is certain to be of great interest to firearms, militaria and history enthusiasts as well as museums around the world. Carrying a conservatively estimated presale expectation of $150,000 to $250,000, the rifle is remarkable for both its design and history. It is fully embellished, exquisitely carved and of the highest quality throughout. It was manufactured by Sebastian Hauschka, a master 18th-century German gun maker who also produced armaments for other European royalty, including The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.
The rifle measures approximately three feet, three inches long and features a walnut stock, gilt silver trigger guard, octagonal barrel, polished steel lock, a snake-shaped handle and a butt encrusted with gold and silver. It is decorated with King Louis XV’s personal cypher and coat of arms inlaid in gold, as well as the figures “464” along the toe line—the inventory number 464 from the Royal Cabinet d’Armes. This Louis XV rifle is equipped with a sophisticated (for the time) Lorenzoni repeating Flintlock system featuring a two-chamber horizontally-mounted rotating drum. This arrangement allowed for the gun to be repeatedly fired until its two magazines were empty. However, because of the technical difficulties involved with this very complex system, only a handful of these deluxe weapons were produced, increasing the rarity—and value—of this exceptional rifle even more.
Louis XV Rifle full view. The carbine was commissioned by the French King himself; it is detailed with his personal cypher and coat of arms in gold and features an extremely rare Lorenzoni repeating system, one of the most complex and highly prized designs of its time.
The signature of Sebastian Hauschka, a master 18th-century German gun maker, on the Louis XV rifle. Hauschka also produced armaments for other European royalty, including The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.
“Any Cabinet d’Armes gun is the greatest treasure a collector or public institution can own, but to acquire the personal gun of one of France’s great kings is a once in a generation opportunity, “said Wes Dillon, James D. Julia’s department head for the company’s Rare Firearms & Military Division. “The offering of Louis XV’s rifle is the first time in 41 years that a firearm of such royal pedigree has been offered at public auction. Time will tell if this magnificent war trophy will indeed be worth a king’s ransom.”
From the historical perspective, this very important firearm has lived several “lives” so far, with its next chapter in the hands of its high bidder.
Manufactured by Hauschka in the town of Wolfenbutel in Braunschweiger region of Germany, the rifle is documented in the 1775 inventory of the French Royal Cabinet d’Armes. Historians speculate it was sent home by an official attached to the Prussian army after the fall of Napoleon in 1815. And just how did it get to the United States? Its current owner inherited it from a relative who was an American officer in the Second World War. It was one of many guns confiscated from German citizens just after the surrender of Germany in 1945, and had been put in a giant pile of arms slated for destruction by U.S. Army engineers.
The rifle is decorated with King Louis XV’s personal cypher and coat of arms inlaid in gold.
The butt of the Louis XV rifle is also encrusted with gold and silver.
Being so ornate, the rifle stood out from the generic military hardware deposited at the collection point. The officer in charge, recognizing its unique character, pulled it from the pile and squirreled it away as a trophy of war—a common practice for GIs returning home at the time. The gun had remained in the family’s possession since that time.
For more information about this item or the auction itself, visit the James D. Julia website or the auction catalog on iCollector.
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