Today’s gun is a Holland and Holland Royal Deluxe, an O/U from a firm that made its reputation building best grade doubles. They made O/Us, too, and, in fact, the O/U has become much more popular in recent years among the sort of people who can afford H&Hs and driven bird shooting.
While Hollands and driven birds may be out of your price range and mine, publishing magnate* Robert Petersen, founder of “Guns &Ammo,” “Hunting” and “Hot Rod” magazines certainly could afford them. When Petersen died in 2007, the majority of his outstanding firearms collection went to the National Firearms Museum, which opened a Petersen Gallery in 2010. Very few of his guns wound up in private hands. This .410 is one of those few and it will be up for sale at the Rock Island Auction’s Premiere Auction December 1–3, 2017.
The engraving makes this gun. The late Master Engraver Philippe Grifnee decorated the frame parts, trigger guard, lever and forend hardware in beautiful deep relief scroll, which includes a perfectly rendered Gambel’s quail. The sideplates were done in banknote (or “bulino”) style engraving. Banknote engraving uses a burin or graver, to scribe very fine, very detailed images, in this case, I am pleased to mention, a pair of German shorthaired pointers. Bulino amazes me. Experts can draw with a burin on steel as easily as we draw on paper with a pencil, except they’re a lot better at it than most of us are with a pencil and paper.
The stock has a Prince of Wales grip, or what used to be called a half-pistol grip, which has more to do with the angle of the grip than whether the grip is rounded or not. Just in case you wanted to buy this as your dove gun (we can dream, can’t we?) it has three-inch chambers, Modified chokes in both of its 28-inch barrels, and it weighs 5 pounds, 5 ounces. Otherwise, I am guessing it’s never been fired and will probably stay that way. The gun also comes with a factory letter and ledger sheet.
*I don’t think that’s a job any more, such is the state of publishing. It’s like being a “whale oil magnate.”