Sword dating from Siege of Derry for auction

by Kate Heaney

A sword pistol linked to the 1689 Siege of Derry and owned by the Hart Family who lived near Muff, is among an historic trove of guns set to go under the hammer in Belfast.

Duelling pistols, carbines and revolvers are among the collection which has been valued at more than £1 million (€1.14m).


They were collected by Antrim man Leslie Martin who died a few years ago.

Bloomfield Auctions described it as “one of the finest collections of historic firearms ever seen in Ireland”.

The fearsome-looking early flintlock sword is one of the oldest lots up for auction, having been manufactured in 1650.

It is reputed to have been used during the Siege of Derry and belonged to the Hart family. Colonel Henry Hart, who died in 1712, is believed to have commanded the Fort of Culmore.

It has been valued with a guide price of between £45,000 and £50,000 (€51,690 and €57,430).

Kilderry House in Muff, which was recently put up for sale, was the home of the Hart Family for centuries.

General Vaughan Hart was active in many wars , American War of Independence, West Indies and India. Colonel Hart sold the property in the 1930s and he moved to Ballinagard House in Culmore.


Other highlights include a military-style percussion musket inscribed with the name of Captain Alan Campbell who died during the 1916 Easter Rising and a rare seven-shot revolving carbine manufactured in 1838.

The sale this week is expected to attract attention from collectors around the world.

Bloomfield Auctions said they have worked closely with Mr Martin’s family to fully catalogue the collection, describing how a “wealth of documentation from his notes to receipts and other documents highlights his passion for detail and his desire to understand each item’s background and its role in Irish history”.

Managing director of Bloomfield Auctions Karl Bennett said it is rare that a collection “this quality and scope come to auction”.

“It is a measure of Leslie’s lifelong passion for his hobby that this collection exists,” he said.

“This is an opportunity for enthusiasts to own a piece of history.

“The histories and stories brought to life by these objects and Leslie’s desire to understand their back story and that of their owners’ is compelling and will soon be appreciated by a wider audience.”

The collection will be sold by Bloomfield Auctions tomorrow at the Culloden Hotel on the outskirts of Belfast.

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