* MADE FOR H.M. THE KING OF ITALY
HOLLAND & HOLLAND
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE .295 (.300) ROOK MINIATURE 'ROYAL HAMMERLESS EJECTOR' SIDELOCK EJECTOR DOUBLE ROOK RIFLE, serial no. 17667,
for 1900, 26in. black powder only barrels with matt sight rib, open sights and two folding leaf sights with white metal-inlaid sight lines and marked 50, 100 and 150, ramp-mounted bead fore-sight, the tubes engraved 'HOLLAND & HOLLAND. 98 NEW BOND STREET, LONDON.', and 'WINNERS OF ALL THE "FIELD" RIFLE TRIALS, LONDON.', the underside of the barrels with Interfor USA Group Inc. Houston Texas import mark, diminutive action with removable striker discs, the toplever engraved 'PATENT SAFETY', elongated top strap with manual safety and gold-inlaid 'SAFE' detail, gold-inlaid cocking-indicators, chequered front trigger, best bold Royal scroll engraving, the makers name in scrolling banners to the lockplates, the underside with 'ROYAL HAMMERLESS EJECTOR' in an elaborate cartouche, retaining much original colour-hardening and traces of finish, 14 3/4in. figured pistolgrip stock with cheekpiece, engraved steel pistolgrip-cap, sling swivels and including 5/8in. rubber recoil pad, tiny setting crack near triggerguard tang, weight 6lb. 4oz.
Provenance: The makers have kindly informed us that this rifle was made for HM The King of Italy as a '.295 Double H'less rifle, Royal AB ejector, top lever, top safety', that it was 'shot and regulated with our ordinary .295 cartridge, sights 50 100 150 yards' on the 8th March 1900, that 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.
Educated in the military, as the Crown Prince, he fought in the war against Austria with great aplomb and earned much popularity in a time where a prevailing antimonarchist sentiment was growing in Italy. His accession to the throne in 1878 further increased his popularity with his attempts to reconcile the various political and regional elements within Italy and he successfully led the country out of isolation by joining in a triple alliance with Austria-Hungary and Germany. He was a firm advocate of expanding Italy's colonial reach - with mixed results. A disastrous defeat by the Ethiopians at the battle of Adwa in 1896, combined with a tariff war with France led to increased social unrest which resulted in him imposing martial law in 1898. The repression that followed exacerbated social tensions to a grave height, giving rise to an ever increasing socialist party (including a young Benito Mussolini amongst its ranks) very active in protesting against the crackdown on civil liberties, with a strong anti-colonial and antimonarchist sentiment. Things came to a head following the massacre of demonstrators protesting about the price of bread by the military under General Beccaris in Milan,who ordered both rifle and artillery fire upon them.
On the 29th July 1900, a young Italian-American anarchist, Gaetano Bresci assassinated the King, shooting him four times, declaring his motivation for the assassination being to avenge the deaths of those who died in Milan.
* Please note this item is subject to 5% VAT on the hammer price (UK Buyers only). Imported from France, EU RGR Eligible
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Sold as an exempt item under Section 58 (2) of the 1968 Firearms Act, to be held as a curiosity or ornament