Certain guns.....

Discussion in 'Browning Superposed Shotgun' started by Anatidae, May 3, 2023.

  1. Koen Van Oorschot

    Koen Van Oorschot Copper BB

    Hi Anatidae,

    Here are some pictures of the C4.2 from Antwerp by A. Dierckx.
    Serialnr. 823pm01243



    Attached Files:

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  2. Anatidae

    Anatidae .270 WIN

    Very nice wood! I wish I knew of a craftsman who can accomplish a proper, high quality 3-piece forearm installation here in the US.

    It is amazing that our fusils are 10 digits apart in serialization yet they are a half a world away, now. We see rarely, the FN C4.2 Grade in the US - or FN D3 for that matter.

    Thanks for sharing the photos.

    Did you learn anything else about J. Leunens? I saw Rocco’s comments and have learned his first name is (en fait) Joseph.
  3. Koen Van Oorschot

    Koen Van Oorschot Copper BB

    Hello Anatidae

    I find little information about Joseph Leunen. He is not on the list of the FN engravers (N. Schwing) but this list is probably very incomplete. His work is very recognizable for connoisseurs. According to the internet, he lived from 1934 to 2013. On French websites you occasionally see his engraved weapons for sale. K.
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  4. Auzzie

    Auzzie 20g

    Hi Koen
    Giday from Land Down Under
    You have some beautiful pieces and good taste.
    That stock is really something.
    I even like the table top timber. It looks really nice with character compared to woods here in the land of Eucalyptus
    Koen Van Oorschot likes this.
  5. Koen Van Oorschot

    Koen Van Oorschot Copper BB

  6. Anatidae

    Anatidae .270 WIN

    Thank You, Koen

    It is quite interesting to see the many different examples that she engraved. I am not surprised that the E1 side plate pattern was in her repertoire.

    She told me that she did not engrave a Browning Midas Grade, yet I am aware of a very late-production .410 Superlight model which was a collaboration with Robert Hellinx......at that time, the subordinate of the two engravers on this project.

    The standard FN and Browning patterns provided her a means to an extraordinary finale at the FN and brief tenure with the short-lived Herstal Engravers Cooperative (1987-1992).

    Other than that, her artistic and engraving capabilities were without limit. When she retired from FN and the Herstal Engravers, she prided herself on her creation of original designs for her private commissions.

    I told her that I cannot buy every 'Purgal' - but I will pursue the ones that 'find' ME (that strike a passionate nerve), just as the 3 that brought us together, a half a world away and 30 years later. This is why I believe she engraved this petite D3.......and helped it 'find' me.

    Le 'petite poisson' (du monde de collectioner)
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2023
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  7. Auzzie

    Auzzie 20g

    Neat story. If only the guns could talk too.
    Would you be kind as to elaborate a bit and comment on the Herstal Engravers Co opp for us interested students that are learning.
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  8. Anatidae

    Anatidae .270 WIN

    It IS a neat story - and so much more than I imagined 'collecting' would become.

    I can assure you - Guns CAN talk - and when they speak to me, I'm assured there is something 'special' about them. There is a story behind every gun - we just have to discover it.

    As far as The Engravers of Herstal - commenting would be easy for me. But 'typing' it all out takes time that I don't have right now as I don't like to serve anything 'half-baked'.

    Basically: (this is my understanding, recalled from my own study and research and/or based on writings of Claude Gaier)

    1985 - Andre' Watrin, Andre' Dierckx and Jose Baerten were the only 3 remaining 'FN' Masters [from my own research]. Watrin and Dierckx retired along with Gaston Vandermissen and a few of the 'old guard' which left Baerten in charge of the engraving studio (the 1st Custom Shop located at 13 Rue Faurieux, Herstal formed in 1971) of around 25 engravers remaining. Numbers continued to dwindle as demand for guns decreased......due to increasing labor rates and competition from Spain, Italy, and Japan who employed chemical, electro, photo, and other non-hand-engraving techniques.
    FN, retained only those "who were most qualified in the execution of works of great luxury, justifiable of a manual treatment" [Claude Gaier] - referring to FN's refusal to abandon the traditions of hand engraving practiced for 5 Centuries in the Liege Region. The FN engraving workshop would eventually be abandoned by 1987

    1987 - FN encouraged the remaining engravers to become independent or contemporary. At some point, Jean Diet was bestowed the title of 'Master', either by Watrin, Dierckx, or Baerten in keeping with the old world apprenticeship system of craftsmanship within a specific workshop or company - in this case - a group of former FN engravers.

    27 October, 1987 - 1992 - Jean Diet lead the Herstal Engravers Cooperative which produced private commissions and was given exclusivity to FN projects and commissions. There were 15 engravers - all former FN engravers in the new workshop at 11 boulevard Ernest Solvay, Herstal Belgique.

    Engravers were:
    Claude Baerten (Jose's 15 year younger brother), Bailley, Bodson, Callabrese, Capece, Diet, Ernst, Lallemand, Lewanczyk, Matagne, Pauwells, Perfido, Pirotte, Poes, and Purgal.

    Guns engraved at the Herstal Engravers bear the logo of the cooperative on the top tang to the right of the opening lever pivot.
    The partial 'spire' represents le Perron, a monument and focal point of the Liege Region for centuries. An oblique image of le Perron is also stamped inside the bottom of each B25 action and represents the final black powder proof from the Liege Proof House.


    If anyone encounters a copy of this brochure, I would like to have one. I’m fortunate to have one of the guns featured in the brochure, even though it was engraved in 1985 through the FN before the Herstal Engravers was conceived.

    Among some of the projects were commemoratives of significant historical events such as the 200th Anniversary of the French Revolution (1789-1989) - a pair of guns depicting various scenes from famous paintings which capture the most significant events of the Revolution. 450 hours worth of engraving and inlay alone on the pair of side plate models.

    Another was a commemorative of the Swiss Confederation (1291-1991). Another was Portuguese Discoveries (1492-1992) - a fabulous depiction of events and various explorations by sea culminating in the discovery of America.

    The 2nd Custom Shop was formed on factory premises at some point - as part of BrowninG, S.A. (Société anonyme) or 'private company'. I believe only Matagne and Bailley returned to work in the J.M.Browning Collection workshop as it is currently referred to, joined by graduates of l'Ecole d'Armurerie de Liege, Simon Bernard, Myriam Derwa, Gabriella ('Gwenda') Lieben, Jean-Marie Martens, Bernadette Romanville, - and I suspect Antoinette Brigante, and J. Dessart.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2024
  9. Auzzie

    Auzzie 20g

    Master Anatidae once again you have excelled in educating us students that are interested ,knew little bit a bit more now
    Thank you for sharing.
    I will look forward to the book one day.
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  10. Koen Van Oorschot

    Koen Van Oorschot Copper BB

    The gun is only 43 years old. The table is over 300 years old...-) But the wood of the gun is replaced last year by the Belgium gunsmith Paul Pletsers. He did a nice job.
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  11. Auzzie

    Auzzie 20g

    Our Country isn’t even 300 yrs old. Wow must be some table.
  12. Anatidae

    Anatidae .270 WIN

    Another recent example that embodies the contention in the title of this thread.

    Another collector (previously unknown to me) contacted me through one of my ads on a listing site and said he had a Gr III 20ga Superposed he was planning to sell. Though Skeptical, I responded - and through phone conversations over the next 2 days, I gained confidence in the seller and the gun. It's an odd way to be contacted by a seller, these days - but he explained he had seen my ads and a sampling of my passion for the Superposed over the years and appreciated my approach to the guns, their history and chose to contact me instead of 2 dealers he usually lists guns with.

    It is in my "1950's Patterns" area of interest. I sold 2 'V3' Gr I 26-1/2" guns a few years ago because I never shot them - hoping to find a unique 28" example from an earlier period. I also traded a '61 20ga Pigeon in 26-1/2" field configuration for a '57 Gr II in the same configuration (with 'killer' wood) to a friend in NY who acquired that example from another mutual collector/friend in Minnesota a few years ago. I started to buy it back then, but I try to avoid duplicates, plus the Pigeon was a surprise gift from my wife about 20 years ago.

    So, only having the Gr II was 'good-enough' (for 20ga guns) and I kept passing-up wonderful early 50's Gr I examples with 28" bbls, Val Browning patent markings, solid ribs, in high condition.......holding-out for more 'engraved models' even though they command a higher price than comparable 12 ga guns.

    Well, I didn't go looking for anything in particular - I prefer the guns to 'find' me (even though that seems naive to many) and prefer the occasional surprise - striking a passionate nerve - IN the desired state (evidence of use wear and care) at a reasonable value. That's a tall order, and very scarcely realized these days.

    But it 'found' me, thanks to a very appreciative owner (for the previous 9 years) who hoped to 'place' it in the hands or collection of someone who genuinely appreciates the art, history, and craftsmanship of these wonderful guns.

    1958 20ga Gr III 'Fighting Cocks' Superposed with 28" M/F chokes - 6lbs - 9oz - probably executed by a student engraver but signed by the Master.


    So, if you wonder (as I did, years ago) how the exceptional guns in the 'books' ended-up with their owners - this story is just an example. It's a product of study and passion for the details and history - and perhaps a little luck. Don't give-up! If you're interested in and pay attention to the details - certain guns will find those who are MOST passionate about the art, details, and history.

    For those who are just getting started.......You can't buy what's not for sale unless you offer the current owner more than they can refuse. You may only get one chance at what IS for sale, lest it disappear to another collector for the next 30 years. So, Know what you want - know what and with whom you are dealing - and prepare for the opportunity when something 'special' (to YOU) comes-along and strikes a passionate nerve.

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2024
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  13. Glad it found its way to you.
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