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Webley Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) No.2 pocket model revolver in .380 calibre, six shot, with rich 80% foliate engraving to frame, backstrap and triggerguard, and very good original blued finish to metal.
The English firm, P. Webley & Sons, advertised their RIC revolvers in the smaller pocket calibres of .380 and .320 in the Army & Navy Stores catalogues between July 1881 and July 1883, providing a likely window for this item's production. Either model could be purchased for 34 shillings and sixpence, blued or nickle plated for an extra 5 shillings. Before the turn of the century, however, the .380 callibre model had disappeared from the Webley catalogue.
This item has a particularly interesting history, as indicated through the engraved inscription on either side of the barrel. In the early 1920s in Tasmania, a group of private collectors - many of them affluent and notable pastoralists - formed a collecting society, and termed themselves the 'Cave Dwellers'. Still in existence in the mid 1940s, they were dubbed 'the smallest and most exclusive society in Tasmania, possibly in Australia.
The groups' founding was inspired by wealthy Tasmanian landowner Daniel Lance Archer who on his visits to friend and fellow gun collector, Launceston furniture retailer Peter Anderson who lived in the hillside suburb of Trevallyn, remarked that 'residents must be troglodytes to live on the side such precipitous hills'. Thus the name of 'Cave Dwellers' was born and adopted by the collectors.
As well as having badges struck with the letters 'CD' embossed in red on a white background, members would present each other with gifts of handguns, engraved with the initials 'CD'. There are seven such items known to exist in private ownership.
Members of the group included Hugh von Stieglitz, Daniel Archer, Will Allen, a Mr Taylor of Camelford, a Mr Clark of Quorn Hall, Peter Anderson, R.A. Anderson, Robert Lindsay Mason and other notable Tasmanians, and in later years, two Victorians.
As indicated by the barrel inscription, this revolver was presented to group member R.A. Anderson 'from the Chief', Hugo von Stieglitz. It is understood that R.A. may have been Peter Anderson's original initials, having been born in Denmark.
Daniel Archer, is known to have acquired a larger Webley revolver from H.W. Fry who purchased two of them at Rosier's sale of business auction in 1916. Fry would also donate other items to the arms collection of Museum Victoria. It is possible that perhaps this Rosier-marked item was acquired by Fry at the same time, passing to Archer before being 'gifted' to Anderson by Stieglitz during the group's years of activity.
|Manufacturer||P. Webley & Sons, Birmingham|
Collections that contain Webley RIC presentation revolver, retailed by James W. Rosier, Melbourne:
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