Friday, June 24, 2011
Booty: A Little Bird Told Me
Above is a picture from Christie’s Auction House Catalogue showing a pair of famous Singing Bird Pistols. Made by the watch and jewelry making house of Les Frères Rochat in 1820, these incredible pieces went up for auction in May. The pistols are the only pair of their kind. Four similar individual pistols made by the Rochat brothers are in museums around the world, making this pair the only known Singing Bird Pistols that are privately owned.
The Rochat brothers were masters of the jeweler’s and watchmaker’s art, and they put all their considerable talent into these diminutive side arms. Their workshop in Geneva was a magnet for royals, nobles, and the wealthy of the 19th century. The kind of delicate craftsmanship that they turned out has not been seen since, and will probably never be seen again.
I could describe the amazing pistols in paragraph after paragraph, but words hardly do their intricate beauty justice. Instead, click here to watch a video from Christie’s and hear the Head of their Watch Department, Aurel Bacs, give the history of these delightful firearms. As Captain Swallow pointed out to the Pyrate Union, they probably weren’t much good in battle, but their loveliness cannot be argued.
And just in case you’re wondering what something like this would set you back, the pair sold in Hong Kong for 5.8 million U.S. dollars. A vast pirate’s treasure indeed.