I have a couple of things in the same sale, so they may be paid for out of them. They are the sort of pistol that would have been acquired by a young gentleman traveling Europe on a 'Grand Tour' before settling down to marriage or business, and would only have been effective at close range - the other side of a gambling-table, for instance. You need a barrel of over 10 inches for any real accuracy.
Over the years, I have been involved in all sorts of things associated with 18th C. 'Grand Tours', mainly collections of minerals and fossils incorporated into the other 18th C. obsession - grottoes.
The wealthy gent would return home and commission a grotto to display his huge collection of shells, crystals, obsidian (usually from the slopes of Mount Vesuvius - very active at the time) and fossils - these man-made caves were the fore-runners of museums to show off curios acquired during the 'gap-year' a wealthy son would take whilst sowing his wild oats.
You had to be extremely wealthy to build a grotto - the last one I restored was built in 1790, at a cost of £40,000. I wonder what £40,000 would translate to in today's money. Most people had a single cabinet on display, as well as a host of stories to entertain their guests over dinner.
In the late 18th century, Bath was home to one of the wealthiest men in England, Sir William Beckford. A rather eccentric sort of bloke, he built a massive wall around his estate purely to prevent the hunting of foxes - something he abhorred. He then built a massive belvedere tower overlooking the city which still exists today, and he also built a fake abbey near Chilmark which had the highest tower in Southern England - not very well though, as it collapsed a short time after completion. It eventually burnt down, and it is said that he saw the glow of the fire from the top of his tower in Bath, about 30 miles away.
After his return from a Grand Tour, he wrote a book called 'Vathek' and pretended that he had merely translated it from the original Arabic. I don't know if it was intentionally supposed to be funny, but it is hilarious in the extreme - and I mean extreme. You have to read it to appreciate how the murder of hundreds of innocent children can be a laughing matter, but - believe me - it can.
Beckford was reputedly living with his sister in an incestuous relationship, so traveling the world obviously didn't widen his horizons in the way you might have expected in a young man.
Bang bang. Actually - bang, bang, bang. One of the pistols is double-barreled.