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VERY RARE BALL’S PATENT ANTI-GARROTTER BELT PISTOL ON THE ORIGINAL BELT – A VERY UNIQUE AND EXTREMELY RARE PIECE OF FIREARMS CURIOSA:  As described in the famous Flayderman & Co. catalog No. 117 (1994), “Considered to be among the rarest of firearms curiosa”, this very rare Ball’s Patent Anti-Garrotter Belt Pistol is a very unique offering.  The above cited catalog listing was for an anti-garrotter pistol in the original case and was titled “ONLY KNOWN SPECIMEN CASED LABELED PERC BELT PISTOL”.  The text of the description included the statement that there was another known unmarked specimen of this same pistol at the time of the publication of the catalog, and it is possible that this pistol is that cited specimen.   

The set offered by Flayderman was in the original lacquered iron case, with a printed maker’s label/instruction sheet mounted in the cover of the case which included an illustration of the belt and gun, and the title, “Henry Ball, Mfr of Improved Patent Single & D.A. Revolvers & Guns….Instructions for Loading Ball’s Patent Anti-Garrotter.”.  It was complete with the full length leather belt and buckle which featured a lanyard and pull knob enclosed in a raised rib that ran the length of the belt.  The pistol featured a round 1 ½” barrel mounted in the center of the plate and the barrel was stamped with British proof marks and the base plate was stamped “W. BALL’S PATENT”.  The Flayderman set sold for $5900.    

Henry Ball is recorded in the history of British gun makers as  being located at 23 Weaman Row,  Birmingham, England, and employed as a gun and lock maker from 1849-1868. 

Ball’s invention was intended to be worn either at the front of the body, or at the small of the back pointed to the rear, where it could be used in defense against an attacker attempting to garrote - to use a cord or wire with handles attached with which to strangle – the victim.   

This rare specimen is fully functional and is still mounted on the original full length leather belt.  The base plate measures 6” long and 3” wide, and the .50 caliber barrel measuring 1 ¼” long, presents in very good to excellent condition.  The base plate, the barrel, and the plate covering the lock mechanism retain some scattered traces of the original blue finish, with most of the surfaces having turned a naturally aged plum brown.  The lock and firing lever function is very crisp and tight with no play.  The cone is complete and is not deformed.  As with the “other known” specimen noted in the Flayderman catalog listing, this belt pistol is unmarked.  

The pistol base plate is backed with a leather chape and the assembly is riveted to the center of the black leather waist belt.  The belt measures 1 7/8” wide at the pistol plate and it tapers to 1” wide at the tips.  The belt is full length with no breaks or other damage, and it retains the original leather covered buckle and standing keeper.  The surface of the leather exhibits some flexing as is expected, but the surface retains a bright shiny surface with no crazing or flaking.    

It is worth noting that this is one of only two known Ball’s Patent Belt Pistols which retain their original belts.    

This Anti-Garrotter Pistol would make a fine addition to a variety of collections such as gamblers, the river boat era, as well as examples of patent firearms.  As described by Flayderman, “one of the rarest of firearms curiosa”, this is a very interesting oddity from the Victorian age of firearms.  (0832)  $4250



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