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Old 3rd June 2021, 05:45 PM   #1
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Default Mysterious pair of pistols

Hi everybody, I recently bought a fine pair of flintlock pistols which, judging by the engraved crest on the escutcheons, originally belonged to an Earl of Lauderdale. The silver hallmark date 1721 fits the dates of the 6th Earl. The lock plate is engraved with the name 'HARVEY' on a scroll (image 3) but the barrel is stamped with the mark, PG (image 4), of another contemporary gunsmith, Pierre Gandon. However, this is not the mystery since gunsmiths frequently used barrels from other makers, often foreign ones. I initially thought that Harvey was Robert Harvey, a noted gunsmith from the early 18th century (died 1734) but on digging deeper into Robert Harvey, all the examples which I could find (12 so far) were signed ROBT HARUEY (sic) in a straight line, not on a scroll (images 7&8). So, is my Harvey a different person, or the same Harvey who has dramatically changed his style of signature? There was a Richard Harvey, a brother very likely of Robert, apprenticed to the same master, but he disappears from the record in 1709. It's possible.Further confusion arose when I found that Pierre Gandon, a Huguenot immigrant to London, had signed at least two pistols on a scroll in the same manner as my Harvey signature; the style of butt caps was also very similar to those on my pistols. Did Gandon fancy forging a Harvey signature, just different enough to avoid prosecution but close enough to fool some people into buying his work while believing they were buying pistols by Robert Harvey? The pierced silver side plates do not help as they are a standard casting to be seen on other pistols by other gunsmiths.
I would be very grateful for any suggestions. Many thanks, Neil
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Old 3rd June 2021, 09:31 PM   #2
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I'm with you re: the first quarter of the 18th c.. The photo of the barrel has strong London proof and view marks. I will reserve my opinion regarding the Harvey marking on the lock plate. To see different names on the lock and the barrel is far from unusual. I hope the pistols came with some stock certificates for the eponymous airport!
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Old 5th June 2021, 01:12 PM   #3
Mel H
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It was quite normal in earlier writings to express the letter U as a V but I can't say that I've ever noticed the reverse of that, as we see here.
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Old 21st June 2021, 05:48 PM   #4
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No more ideas or suggestions? I am disappointed, not even anything from Corrado? I have now found a dozen examples of the ROBT HARUEY signature, still no more of the HARVEY signature, no pistol signed by Richard Harvey, but one signed by Thomas Harvey, possibly a son or nephew of Robert. It's very frustrating!
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Old 16th August 2021, 10:33 AM   #5
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I found one pistol made by Robert Harvey in the book "Early Firearms of Great Britain and Ireland". At the black/white foto one can read the signature "ROB. HARUEY". Why Robert Harvey wrote his name with a "U" instead of a "V" must remain his secret.
I think, that the gunmaker Harvey of your pair of pistols is an other guy who used barrels made by Peter Gandon. In my eyes your pair has been made in the years about 1750/60: the use of the signature within a scroll that was in not before 1750, is a clear reference. So your Harvey could enventually have been a son or nephew of Robert Harvey although he is not mentioned in the "Neue Stoeckel".

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Old 16th August 2021, 02:03 PM   #6
Fernando K
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There is the possibility that the engraver is a person specialized in that art, different from the person who made the barrel or the lock. So it's a freelance work, and I could have written U instead of V

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