Project Description

This miniature was awarded NRA silver medal # 85 at the 2015 NRA Annual Meetings in Nashville, Tn. as one of the 3 best miniatures on exhibit!  

!!!!!SOLD!!!!!  This is a 1/3 scale miniature of a early – circa 1720’s, self priming, self loading, self cocking, 21 shot flintlock REPEATING pistol, as made by Giacomo Berselli of Bologna, Italy. This miniature was made by master miniaturist Walter Agnoletto of Turin, Italy, who is prominently featured in Merrill Lindsay’s book “Miniature Firearms” published in 1970. This exact piece is featured in the Fall 2002 issue of The Miniature Arms Journal, a copy of which will be included in this sale. This has to be the absolute coolest, neatest miniature of an antique pistol I have ever seen! It is almost mind boggling that they were making pistols like this back in the early 1700’s . This pistol is an improvement on the earlier Lorenzoni pistol that was invented in the early 1700’s in Italy. See a video of the Lorenzoni pistol here:  The pistol operates thusly: The buttcap is hinged, and when opened reveals a sliding door, and a screw. Proper sized round lead balls are put into the opening with the sliding cover. Loose powder is put into the opening revealed when the screw is removed. There is a compartment with a door underneath the pan which when opened you would put the priming powder. There is a round rotating brass drum in the middle of the pistol just ahead of the hammer with a lever on the left side. The drum has two cavities. With the muzzle pointing down, the lever is rotated down and forward, loading a powder charge and a lead ball into the drum. Simultaneously, there is a third cavity in the drum that is picking up a priming charge for the pan. As the lever is moved further forward, the pan is charged with priming powder. On the right side of the brass drum, just under the priming powder compartment with the lever in the firing position, is what I will call a cam for lack of a better description. As the lever is continued forward, the pan is charged, the cam closes the frizzen, then engages a lever that cocks the hammer. The lever on the left side of the pistol is then rotated back to the initial position. The ball, then the powder charge, are dropped into the chamber during this process, and the pistol is ready to fire. Fire the pistol, rotate the lever back & forth, and fire again, much like a lever action Winchester, 21 times!  Can you imagine a king with an army of 1000 men armed with both a Berselli rifle and a pair of Berselli pistols?  He cold have defeated an army 25 – 50 times his size in short order!  Unfortuneatly  for the kings of that period, this type of pistol or rifle would have taken as long as a year to make by a master armorer, and would ave been owned by only the most wealthy people of the period, most likely the royal family.

6 5/8″ long overall with a 3 13/16″ smoothbore barrel. All metal parts are steel, finished in the white, The pistol is expertly and generously engraved, see photos. The lockplate is marked BERSELLI BOLOGNA just behind the hammer. The two piece wood stock is some light colored wood that has been painted or stained to simulate ebony. The action functions flawlessly, and is just a wonder to behold! Complete with a hinged top blue leather casing with two folding latches. The interior French fit. The interior bottom lined in a burgundy velvet, the interior lid lined in burgundy silk. Excellent condition only showing some minor scuffs to the stock finish.   Truly a once in a lifetime kind of piece!!!  !!!!!SOLD!!!!!