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London-Made Lorenzonis Repeating Flintlocks

Sold for $28,750 (for the pair).

A 7-shot repeating handgun before cartridges had been invented? Yep, long before. These two pistols are London-made examples of the Lorenzoni system, in which a gun was made with internal magazines of powder and projectiles and a rotating central loading spindle like a modern reloading powder throw. By rotating a lever on the left side of pistol 180 degrees and back, a shooter could load a ball into the chamber, load powder behind it, recock the action, prime the pan, and close the frizzen all in one automated sequence.

This system originated with a German gunsmith named Kalthoff in the mid 1600s, but it was an Italian by the name of Lorenzoni who made it more practical and began building pistols of the type. Lorenzoni is the name that has been generally applied to the system as a result. These two were made by a gunsmith named Glass in London in the mid 1700s – in these days of hand-made firearms ideas and systems like this would slowly spread and be adopted by craftsmen who were capable of producing them and thought they could find an interested market for them.

The Lorenzoni system offered unmatched repeating firepower for its time, but was hampered by its complexity. Only a very skilled gunsmith could build a reliable and safe pistol of the type, and this made them very expensive.

Another example of a Lorenzoni pistol:

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