HYDERABAD: A 650 Flintlock Cavalry-Pistol built in 1825 for the Nizam Of Hyderabad’s arsenal and which may have been carried by soldiers of the Hyderabad Cavalry during the First World War is set to be auctioned by Holts Auctioneers of Norfolk.
The valuation of the pistol has been pegged between Rs 70,000 and Rs 1 lakh. The pistol is part of the trophies of arms that were made in England circa 1825 by several London gun makers who were contracted by the East Indian Company (EIC). They were supplied by the EIC to the Nizam’s government. In 1971, these guns were bought by Holland & Holland, a British gun making firm.
The physical description of the pistol in its auction catalogue reads, "...with round unsighted 9in. barrel, London proofs, solid top-tang, Baker style lock with rampant lion trademark, semi-rainproof pan and ring-necked cock, walnut full-stock, heavy brass furniture including flat heel-cap with central iron lanyard ring, trigger-guard, three-screw sideplate and nose-cap with spring ramrod retainer, the captive iron ramrod with pan head..."
Along with the pistol, a copy of the catalogue made by Holland & Holland will also be given to buyer. In 1971, the firm bought this gun among several others from authorities here, and they were part of the Nizam’s arsenal. The catalogue, called "The Nizam’s Cavalry Pistols as Trophies of Arms", gives background into the history of these pistols.
"It is not known when the pistols were supplied by the East India Company to the Nizam’s government but it is likely to have been about 1850, and they were probably carried by the troopers of the Hyderabad Cavalry up to the time of the First World War," states the catalogue.
"The pistols were in the personal possession of the present Nizam until 1974 when they were acquired by Westley Richards and Holland & Holland.Rather than allow them to be dispersed individually -- when to a large extent their historical interest and provenance would be lost -- it has been decided to form them into groups of 16 pistols either as wall trophies of arms or as a display in round library tables... Each trophy of arms is sold with a numbered and signed certificate of the provenance. In addition, the barrel of each pistol is stamped with the official police mark and numbers which were applied by order of the (erstwhile) Andhra Pradesh (formerly Hyderabad) government in 1973," states the catalogue.
In a blog, Simon Clode, the son of Walter Clode who was one of the persons behind the buyout of these arms in 1971, has written, "I am sure that many of you who follow the market and auctions will have seen in recent months various collections being disposed of which were made at the time of this deal taking place. Hyderabad weapons featured quite strongly in these collections and were all magnificent items."