Online growth triggers move for gun sales
PUBLISHED: 11:23 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:15 05 December 2019
The growth of online bidding has triggered a move to Norfolk for one of the country's biggest gun sales.
Holts Auctioneers has moved its saleroom from London to its HQ on the Royal Estate at Wolferton, near King's Lynn.
Formed in 1993 by Nicholas Holt, the firm had previously held its sales at a hired barracks in Kensington.
"I'm a Londoner born and bred but it's got to the stage where's it's so expensive to hire," he said. "I have found that when I post a sale, within a week I have one million web hits.
"The world is now on our doorstep, there is no need to be in London.
"Hunting, shooting, fishing and country sports are not flavour of the month in the heart of London any more, it's just the way things have gone."
Buyers and collectors from around the world are expected to bid when the first sale at Wolferton takes place on Tuesday, December 10 (10am). Buyers can also attend by obtaining an entry pass in advance of the day.
Thousands of guns and items of shooting paraphernalia are being arranged at Church Farm Barns, near the former Royal Station.
They include the Hereward Gun, a formidable 2-bore Mr Holt describes as "an eccentric one-off" which is expected to fetch around £60,000. A volley gun, made around 1800, is expected to fetch up to £15,000. Its seven barrels would be fired simultaneously during sea-borne battles, to bring down the masts of enemy ships.
Continuing the nautical theme, the sale includes a pair of 18th Century deck cannons and a pair of brass pirate's pistols, which could be used to club the enemy if shooting failed to send them to Davy Jones Locker.
There are rifles and revolvers, including pistols dating from US legendary maker Samuel Colt's brief foray into London.
Shotguns range in value from a few hundreds into the tens of thousands.
They include a set of four 12-bores with gold triggers made for the Maharajah of Patiala, which are expected to sell for £15,000.
None of the lots are likely to beat Mr Holt's record price - some £500,000 paid by the Sultan of Brunei for the World Series, a set of five guns of different calibres, one for shooting on each continent.