Published: May 3, 2021
CRANSTON, R.I. – Bruneau & Co Auctioneers conducted its first-ever historic arms and militaria auction on May 1, the sale featuring more than 400 lots of historic material from the American Revolution through to the modern day.
A circa 1829 Russian M. 1805 12-pound bronze field gun being sold to benefit the acquisition fund of the Massachusetts National Guard Museum, where it was displayed until just recently, was the sale’s heavy hitter, selling for $81,130 against a $30/50,000 estimate and going to a private collector bidding on the phone. The 69½-inch-long field piece is marked “1829/Bryansk” on the breech with the foundry name and has plain dolphins on the gun’s top.
The gun is mentioned in Chuck Veit’s The Yankee Expedition to Sebastopol: John Gowan and the Raising of the Russian Black Sea Fleet 1857-1862, (2014). During the siege of Sevastopol, the Russian navy scuttled many of their ships to block the harbor. After the siege was over, the Russian government hired an American engineer, Colonel John E. Gowan of Lynn, Mass., to raise the ships and salvage the war materials onboard.
Between 1857 and 1862, he cleared the bay and was presented this cannon by the Russian government.
In 1870, Gowan presented the gun to the Lynn Light Infantry, a unit of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, and it was displayed on the third floor of the armory for many years. During the Twentieth Century, it was moved a few times and had been on display at the Massachusetts Army National Guard museum in Concord until earlier this year.
Watch for a full review of this sale in an upcoming issue.
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