Browning Superposed number 5

Discussion in 'Browning Superposed Shotgun' started by daniel11994, Jan 18, 2024.

  1. daniel11994

    daniel11994 .22LR

    In November last year I visited the Bonhams auction in London to view a gun they had for sale: Browning Superposed serial number 5.

    The gun is the most gorgeous pigeon grade gun I've seen. The engraving is nothing like what appears on later guns, or in the superposed adverts from 1931. The engraving is significantly deeper, coated in oak leaves.
    The gun is not signed. However I felt the oak leaves were in the style of Funken, you'd never be able to confirm this.

    The hammer price was around £4200, after fees the buyer will have had to pay £6300.

    I ultimately did not bid on the gun as the pitting down the bores was substancial. The advert described the gun was having "light pitting", which was not accurate. Pitting was significant in the bottom barrel in the first 10" of the barrel. I deemed that the gun would be unsafe to use in it's current condition.

    Contrary to the advert the barrels were not loose on the action.
    The stock and forend were not original. The plastic pad was of a later 1970s design.
    Ejectors had been replaced.
    The top tang of the action around the serial number had been colour case hardened for some reason.
    The left side of the action had been polished on a buffing wheel.
    The advert lists the gun as being "cased", the case was a 1980s Beretta O/U case.

    Here's a link to the album of photos that I took in the viewing room:
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2024
    Rudolph31 likes this.
  2. Ranger6

    Ranger6 Administrator Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator Forum Moderator

    I see you have a link now. I can view those. You can also post each one to the forum from there.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2024
  3. Anatidae

    Anatidae .270 WIN

    Welcome. I can only gather that you are soliciting comments or discussion.

    Here goes......

    I agree that the eichenlaubornament (Ger) is consistent with Funken's style and was eventually incorporated into the ornamentation and design of the pre-war FN D4 grade (on the fences) and the 1950's BrowninG-marketed Gr IV.

    I've studied other photos of this gun and am confident it was a demonstration pattern to be reviewed by BrowninG marketing executives 'on-site' (Fabrique Nationale) during the development of the eventual catalogued 'product line' of the Superposed.

    The cost of engraving labor on #5 probably exceeded the graduated price structure JM Browning conceived and Val Browning implemented for the eventual 4-grade product line - thus the simplified (and 'adopted') catalog pattern design for the 'Pigeon' grade.

    As with the development of the BrowninG 'engraved' models Superposed campaign for the 1950's, the demonstration patterns submitted from 1948 thru 1949 that were not approved, were sold for nominal sums (source: Ned Schwing's research and his interviews with Val Browning). I have one such 'demonstration' pattern based on the pre-war FN B2 pattern.

    Therefore, examples like this fall into the 'unique' and possibly, 'one-of-kind' category which sometimes overrides condition and the 'perceived' sensibility of the most passionate students of the B25 (relative to valuation).

    As far as the trempé jaspé (color hardening by heat-treating) - the FN A2, C1, and D2 grades (of the original 12 FN grades offered in the pre-war through 1966 and beyond) were of the same appearance as the traces of colour forward of the opening lever on #5.

    Never say "never". Funken kept a 'Souvenir de mon Activités during his tenure from June 1, 1926 through June 30, 1960 at the FN. I am confident he may have made comments about this gun, and possibly sketches of its ornamentation design.

    I'd be interested in whether you find these comments plausible, helpful, and especially, 'neither'.

    Thanks for sharing your photos of this example. It is great to have eyes for the Superposed across the pond in both directions. I learn something every time I am given opportunity to study other examples, and always welcome thoughtful and meaningful insight from abroad.

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2024
    Auzzie and Rudolph31 like this.
  4. Anatidae

    Anatidae .270 WIN

    No follow-up nor discussion?

    Well, no good deed goes unpunished .........once, again.

    This is what makes people less-inclined to 'share' anything..........especially hard-won, credible KNOWLEDGE. It's a waste of time.

    'Makes me appreciate the other 2 gentlemen that acknowledged my responses to their queries, autres. Merci!!
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2024
  5. I’m finally back in town and just picked this up. I assume you had other opportunities and interests to make such a trip. What a disappointment to see that the gun, unique in its age and lineage, did not match the description. Or am I off base?
  6. daniel11994

    daniel11994 .22LR

    didn't match the description at all. The online photos were limited but their description of "light pitting" was way off. The barrels were pitting to the point of having holes in the bottom barrel to the forend. They described the gun as being off-face, which I disagreed with.

    I do not think the colour case hardening on the serial number was done by Browning.

    I am glad I went to see the gun but ultimately I did not bid.

Share This Page