A wheellock gun formerly owned by French King Louis XIII could fetch an impressive $425,000 at auction. Retrieved from the Cabinet d’Armes of King Louis XIII of France (1601-1643), the sporting arm is one of the headliners for Rock Island Auction Company’s “August Premier Auction,” taking place from Aug. 23 to 25.

This stunning wheellock sporting gun, marked #24 on the Cabinet d’Armes collection, dates to the early part of Louis XIII’s reign (1610-1643). When it was being crafted, the young king had only just begun to build his remarkable arms collection. He had been fascinated by firearms since he was very young and began collecting as a young boy. He received his first arquebus at three years old, had seven firearms prior to his ninth birthday in 1610 and had 50 in his Cabinet d’Armes when he was 13 years old.

The “#24” mark is found on the underside of the stock ahead of the trigger guard. The gun measures nearly 58 5/8 inches from muzzle to heel, features a smoothbore octagonal to round two-stage barrel, and heavily decorated throughout with silver and gold damascened ornaments. 

Its breech section is decorated with a foliage featuring forest creatures, mythical beasts, several masks, a pair of winged figures, and decorative urns. Meanwhile, its forward section features classical female nude figures set against a backdrop of buildings and expansive foliage in gold and silver. There’s a woman holding a dove with a lamb by her side, another stands below a crescent moon holding an hourglass and a fruit in each hand, and the third figure holds a scale and a sword.

Other notable features include a barrel fitted with a blade front sight set at the muzzle and a rectangular tunnel rear sight, a long iron barrel tang with foliate engraving, and an exposed wheel, to name a few. The #24 wheellock sporting gun from King Louis XIII  features faint oxidation but all together is still in a very fine state considering its age.

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Image courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company