Up for bid: antique silver, gold inlaid pinfire pepperbox pistol

Pinfire pepperbox1

Antique Spanish pinfired pepperbox pistol. (Photo: Rock Island Auction Co.)

This antique pistol would make any vaquero proud. It’s a double action pinfired, pepperbox revolver, manufactured by Paulino Aretio of Bilbao Spain, and up for auction.

The gun features an exquisite silver and gold inlaid foliage design. The inlay covers nearly all of the metal surfaces on a matte black background. A vine and leaf pattern cover the cylinder flats, frame, recoil shields, loading gate, hammer, folding trigger, and grip straps.

The sides for the frame have “J.J.M.Z.” inlaid in gold. The same initials appear in silver, engraved on the wooden box that showcases this museum-quality gun. It’s also branded by the maker. The edge of the left recoil shield has “FaDE PAULINO DE ARETIO” inlaid on gold and the edge of the loading gate (right side) has “BILBAO” inlaid in gold.

The screw heads and grip screw escutcheons even have gold inlay.

Inside the revolver’s display/storage case is also a screwdriver and a cleaning rod, and cartridge blocks with a capacity of 104. There are 80 cartidges included.

The seller, Rock Island Auction Company, describes the condition: “the cylinder flutes retain 80% original high polished blue finish showing brown speckling. The remaining surfaces retain 90% of the matte black finish.”

Though the beautifully grained wooden grips are shown to be slightly shrunken, with a small chip in the left panel, the grips are in very good shape.

At its age, this pepperbox pistol can be forgiven for being not quite functionally perfect. The auction house says “action needs work as trigger must be reset after the action is cycled.”

The ad for this auction calls the gun “a fine example of a silver and gold inlaid pinfire revolver that would enhance any European antique sidearm collection.” The opening bid is set at $18,000, with a maximum sale bid of $30,000 expected.

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