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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As attorney for an estate I would like to confirm this old H. Pieper double is Pre 1898, and also any information about the Diana model H. Pieper shotguns would be much appreciated. As I read the Belgian proof marks, it’s Pre 1893 and not earlier than the 1881 patent.. Thanks for all information, about grade and age. It seems to be a sound old Belgian double, and a rather fancy one. The barrel set rings, it locks up tight, there’s no pitting in the bores. It only has black powder proof, but what is that S* mark?

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Yes, it is the H. Pieper Diana, not the later Modified Diana which did not have the step breech.
This is a 1882 Forest & Stream ad

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The 17.8 mm is confusing = .701" and the gun is marked '12C'. Belgian 12g bores were typically 18.4 mm = .724". It should carry the NON POUR BALLE mark if that indicated the muzzle constriction. It's not a 14g which is .693".

It likely has 2 1/2" chambers.

The spangled 'S' is an controller's (inspector's) mark, which were crowned prior to 1877.

The absence of a Crown over the ELG confirms that it was made before 1893

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I also wondered where NON POUR BALLE was, and the only think I can think of is the guns had a steel mono block (no Damascus figure is on it) and like a 12/20 the makers made the entire barrel unchoked, a straight cylinder but smaller than normal. I’m at a loss for any other explanation.

The gun has extra nice French walnut, an ebony tip on the fore end. sculpted action, nice engraving, not a cheap Belgian clunker, by the looks of it.
 

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But there IS a Damascus pattern on the barrels under the breech near the chambers, and is clearly visible in the photos. That's clearly not a good sign. And we cannot see the condition of the barrel interiors for pitting, as it was obviously used with (corrosive) black powder shells and potassium chlorate primers as well. And the bore size is ALSO "questionable".

It may have a pretty exterior, BUT ...... does anyone collect pre-1900 Belgium made shotguns of value here? (Doubtful). Pieper was known to make many cheap doubles (numerous trade names) for "overseas sales" here in the US, but he DID make quality arms, as well.

Just a note of concern.
 

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>NON POUR BALLE<< just denoted constriction, so the tube was designed for shot. Many makers in many gunmaking centres used pattern welded tubes from Liège, even the makers from the Little British Isles. So quality pattern welded tubes in proper condition still do function as intended. Actually, pattern welded tubes have a different report than their fluid steel counterparts. One I actually prefer.
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Too, pattern welded tubes crafted for solid projectiles, ie., rifled, actually function as designed. But these are almost as scarce as hen's teeth.

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Both the Original Diana and Modified Diana barrels had a steel breech and usually Twist or Damascus tubes, but there were a few with steel (likely Decarbonized) tubes.

And interesting Original Diana with high grade Bernard tubes

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A Modified Diana with Washington tubes

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I concur that a >>Price-Point<< weapon with >>Price-Point<< tubes was a lower quality offering and it was ordered as such. But the mechanics in Liège were capable of making >>Price Point<< offerings one day & upper rung the next. They just provided what the client ordered.

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
This old gun, has an expertly fitted doll’s head extension and a four digit serial number. It very well could be a first year 1882 gun, or the next year or two, and sold not choked. The tubes are not laminated or twist, but marked as Fine Damascus, so it’s not the bottom end offering.

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There is no way to know the provenance except it originated in modern times from Manitou Springs (Pike’s Peak) Colorado and it’s never been abused and has obviously been used a lot, carefully, and probably with modern smokeless ammunition. There’s un burned powder residue in both barrels but not any pitting.

It’s not my gun, but when I have some time I’ll go over it and clean it inside and out.

This could have been a present to Doc Holliday from Big Nosed Kate when he sought the higher elevation of the Colorado gold rush towns, to help the tuberculosis that killed him, and prevent extradition back to Arizona.



It’s not likely, but it’s pretty to think it might have been.:)
 

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Just for your interest, the barrels are 3 Iron Damas Crolle' of "Oxford".
'WF' was likely the barrel joiner/finisher, and may have been a contract worker for Pieper, working in his home, or one of these fellas - the H. Pieper Brazil Works

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This is the original Diana patent. The tubes are inserted from the rear into the monobloc
With the Modified Diana, the tubes were inserted from the front ala "sleeving"

Another thread
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Barrels are sleeved as they should be. Are the tips of the barrels? How does the butt plate look?
The gun is safely locked away, but the butt is a perfect, unworn, thick black rubber (?) that’s the same as in the 1882 advertisement.

Tips of barrels kiss, are perfect, and the set rings like a church bell.

There’s an ebony fore end tip, the walnut is fancy and very fine line checkered, it’s got a lot of scroll engraving, and there’s every chance this was bought because of a lucky strike in the Colorado gold fields, whether it was Big Nosed Kate buying one for Doc Holliday or Soapy Smith buying a dozen to arm his confederates in swindling.


This isn’t just an old $10 Belgian clunker, it was an innovative new deluxe mono block double with three iron Damas Crolle “Oxford”fine Damascus barrels.

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Please look at that advertisement and see if you don’t agree this was the $100 grade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I haven't heard anyone even "guesstimate" an auction value yet!
What helps the value is that it’s a true Pre 1898 antique, in overall very nice condition for a gun that’s certainly older than 1893. By my inspection it appears basically sound.

What hurts the value is its an old Belgian double. The vast majority of those were made to sell cheaper than the cheapest American guns.

And what complicates the appraisal is that guns today are fetching previously unheard of prices.

I intend to show this old gun to Rod Gates of Jordan. He’s a real expert on old time shotguns, as he makes them from scratch.

Except the recent buying panic, I think it’s worth a few hundred dollars.

Let’s see what Rod Gates thinks.
 

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My guess on the value is $500 to $750. While it's a mass market gun, the Damascus barrels are nice and the right fella will want it. It may take a year to find him, though. Very pretty, it's in better shape than the one I had, which was a shotgun/rifle combination. Mine was made sold in 1894 at the Columbian world exposition and had fluid drawn barrels based on the half dollar coins always stored with the gun. Yours is nicer. I traded mine for a mint condition .32 H&R Magnum Ruger Single Six, and both parties felt we got the better end of the deal.
 
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