A rifle that encapsulates the magic of the Wild West will be included in Gavin Gardiner Ltd
s final auction of 2012, of Fine Modern and Vintage Sporting Guns and Rifles, which will take place on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at Sothebys, 34-35 New Bond Street, London.
Belonging to "Doc" Carver, "Champion Shot of the World", who was a well known sharpshooter and contemporary of Buffalo Bill Cody, the major parts are from a .44 wcf model 1873 lever action rifle and are estimated at £800-1,200. It is inscribed "Presented to My Friend Charles A. Gillig by Dr Wm F. Carver, Dec 14 1880".
Doc Carver trained as a dentist, however it was his career as a showman and champion rifle shot for which he is remembered. As a friend of Cody's he acquired considerable notoriety as a rifle shot. Following his success he toured extensively and arrived in Europe in 1879 shooting at matches and exhibitions in front of Nobility and Royalty. He had a significant engagement in London at the Crystal Palace at around the time that this rifle was presented.
Upon his return from Europe he entered in to partnership with Buffalo Bill to produce a Wild West show, "Wild West". After the first season they parted ways, and the show now known as "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" went on to achieve international recognition. Carver continued to tour on a smaller scale for the rest of his life, famously incorporating a Diver Horse act in to the show. This element was continued by members of his family until the 1970s.
Gavin Gardiner commented: Although the gun is on poor condition and incomplete, it comes from a period when the traveling wild west show captured the imagination of the world. Doc Carver was a business partner of Buffalo Bill as well as being renowned as a marksman and "Champion rifle shot of the world". He toured Europe extensively from 1879 to 1881, including a long engagement at Crystal Palace where he shot and performed in front of Royalty. It is believed that this rifle was presented during this engagement.
The sale, as always, will have a selection of interesting pistols (which can be viewed at Gavin Gardiner Ltds office in West Sussex). Among the pistols in the December sale will be one of the rarest Luger pistols only 10 are known to have been made and all have been given to high profile recipients such as President Roosevelt, Hiram Maxim, The King of Italy, Diaz of Mexico as well as the Kaiser Wilhelm II.
The example in Gavin Gardiner Ltds auction was given to Andre Noel, Governor of Konstanz (on the Swiss/ German Border) in 1946 and is being sold by a member of his family, who now lives in London. It would have been personally inspected by Georg Luger and the chamber is inlaid with a gold presentation family crest. It is estimated at £15,000-20,000 and only one other is ever known to have been sold at auction.
The auction of more than 200 lots of vintage sporting guns, rifles and shooting accessories, is the only sale of Sporting Guns to be held in the heart of Londons Mayfair and will have a strong section of 12-bore Sporting Guns by England and Scotlands finest makers.