An Historical Handover

Monday 30th May 2022

Earlier this month our head of Sales, Luke Davison met with Nick Holt, from Holts Auctioneers for the handover of an exceptionally rare Royal Hammerless Ejector Double Rook Rifle which was made for the King of Italy, Umberto 1st in 1900. It has 26 inch black powder only barrels, best bold Royal scroll engraving and 14 3/4in. figured pistol-grip stock with cheekpiece. 

This rifle was made for King Umberto as a '.295 Double Hammerless rifle, Royal AB ejector, top lever, top safety.  It was 'shot and regulated with  .295 cartridges, sights 50 100 150 yards on the 8th March 1900, and it was 'finally shot' on the 10th May 1900' and 'Finished Factory' on the 14th May 1900. Umberto I, born 14th March 1844, was the King of Italy from 9th January 1878 until his assassination on the 29th July 1900.

Holland & Holland have held long standing historical ties with Italy having also received the first Royal Warrant from King Umberto in 1883. Subsequently the Italians took great interest in the design of Holland & Holland guns and often tried to replicate them. Our ties are now stronger than ever thanks to the acquisition by Beretta in 2021.  

This exquisite gun was purchased by Holland & Holland late last year and will now reside in the historical Brevis Collection. 

The trademark ‘Brevis’ was first registered on 3rd February 1930 and subsequently named ‘Royal Brevis’. 

The original Brevis had 26.5” barrels, weighed 6 1/4lbs and was described as ‘The ideal gun for Grouse and Partridge Driving’. After World War Two the trademark Brevis did not reappear in catalogues and many Royals with 28” barrels have subsequently been built with no reference to the name. However, the original 26.5” Brevis continues to be built, albeit in small numbers up to the present day and has a loyal following. The Brevis collection was primarily built up by David Winks, originating in the Bruton Street gunroom. The original Brevis room was formally opened by the Duke of Westminster in 1989. 

It is now an impressive collection of historical guns plus the surviving records of all the Holland & Holland guns - known as the Number Books, and will soon be housed in our new St James Gunroom.