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Lot 1: Scarce and Interesting Frankenau Patent Double Action Pinfire Purse Revolver
by Rock Island Auction Company
November 30, 2012
Rock Island, IL, USALive Auction
Estimate: $5000 - 8000
Discussed in Winant's "Firearms Curiosa", with an example pictured on page 159, the Frankenau was patented in both England and America in 1877, and performed double duty as a change purse and as a 5-shot defensive revolver. Though sights are not included, the typical armed robbery scenario (very short ranges and poor/non-existent light) renders the disadvantage moot, and the innocent appearance of the arm allows it to be brought into play on the pretence of surrendering it to the assailant. The outer case is silver finished brass with black leather side panels, marked "FRANKENAU'S PATENT." along the top, with a conventional spring-loaded pushbutton release on the top right, and a manually operated, flat-laying latch on the left. Pushing the button opens up a shallow but functional storage compartment, while the latch permits access to the main compartment and the revolver, which is marked with London proofs on the cylinder and a "crown/Z" on the rear. Also inside the compartment is a spring loaded retainer for an ejector rod (not included) and a series of holes in the lid near the muzzle and air gap, to permit the venting of gases after firing. The folding trigger is mounted on the underside, and is connected to a hinged muzzle cover on the front; opening one automatically opens the other, increasing the speed that the revolver can be brought into play.
BBL: 3/4 inch round
Gauge: 5 mm
Serial Number: 629
Condition: Very good. The revolver itself retains 60% of its original nickel finish, showing dark spotting and flaking. The casing has aged gracefully, showing a fine brass patina overall, retaining original silver on the inner surfaces and along the right side. The revolver was obviously put to use at some point as the interior compartment holding the revolver shows a discoloration from heat at the cylinder. Part of the muzzle cover is detached, as is an internal section of the change pocket. Leather is good, with holes in the left panel corresponding to the vents, and mild scuffing. Mechanically very good overall.