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Boutet flintlock blunderbuss – £9500 at Antony Cribb.

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However, only a fraction of the 600,000 firearms estimated to have been produced under his directorship at Versailles were of this refined type.

A rare glimpse of a more ordinary gun from this source was to be found in a sale held by Antony Cribb (22% buyer’s premium) of Newbury on November 10 where a Boutet flintlock blunderbuss sold for £9500.

This was no knockabout weapon to be brandished from a common-or-garden stagecoach, though. It was produced to superior standards, with beautifully engraved mounts and a stock carved with a crisp rosette on the cheekpiece.