Make: J. Beattie Manufacturer of Guns & Pistols
Model: Howdah Pistol
Serial Number: 961
Year of Manufacture: PRE-1865
Caliber: .655 Calibre
Markings: The number “961” is stamped on the pistol butt, just below the tang. “J Beattie, London”, is stamped on the top barrel rib, just forward of the hammers. “J. Beattie” is stamped on each lock plate.
Barrel Length: 8 inches.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are hand-checkered, varnished wood. The grips rate in about Excellent overall condition. There are a couple of small depressions from handling or use near the barrel wedge, none of which go through the finish. These will be barely visible, but should be seen in the high quality photos which we have provided.
Type of Finish: Bright finished Damascus barrels, with engraved & case-hardened lockplates, blued & engraved trigger guard and ramrod tips, and color case hardened & engraved hammers.
Finish Originality: Factory Original
Bore Condition: The bore is clean and bright; it is smooth bored, and in remarkable condition for a pistol from the black powder era.
Overall Condition: This gun retains about 90% of its metal finish. The pearl-like finish on the Damascus barrels needs to be seen, as ti is just incredible. The engraving is sharp and clear; the blue is bright. The screw heads are handmade, and as sharp as when they left the factory. The markings are clear and sharp. Overall, this gun rates in about Excellent condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, although we have not fired this gun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: As if this pistol wasn’t mouth-watering enough, it comes complete with a fitted hardwood case, with compartments for accessories, all included. These include: a hand turned, wood-handled screwdriver and nipple wrench set, a hand turned, wood-handled, brass-mounted loading ramrod, with a cleaning jag attachment, a utility tin with a period flannel patch inside, a powder flask, a ball mold, seven .65 calibre lead balls, and a compartment with a key contained inside. Two original business cards are included as well. Even the locking pins on the front of the case are fitted and recessed. On the green felt interior, a satin patch proclaims that this is all the work of “J. Beattie, Manufacturer of Guns & Pistols, 205 Regent Street, London, Maker of the Improved Percussion Caps.”
Our Assessment: Simply, WOW! The “Howdah” pistol was typically intended for defense against tigers, lions, and other dangerous animals that might be encountered in remote areas. The term “howdah pistol” comes from the howdah, a large saddle mounted on the back of an elephant. Hunters, especially during the period of the British Raj in India, used howdahs as a platform for hunting wild animals and needed large-calibre side-arms for protection from animal attacks.
This one is in absolutely unbelievable condition for a pistol of this vintage, any vintage for that matter. There is virtually no wear to the bluing or the delicate, brightly burnished finish on the Damascus barrels. The bluing on the trigger guard looks like it left the factory a year ago, not the century and a half since it actually did. This pistol is a work of art, and a pistol in this condition, from this vintage, is a museum piece. The accessories and box, complete with lock and key included, seldom survive. The accessories get lost along the way. This one has them all. You can pick any of them up, look at the hand made excellence, and just smile, like we do. This collection will satisfy the most discriminating collector of fine vintage firearms, and will make a very, very happy owner out of the lucky winning bidder – Unbelievable…
Sold For: $8,114