Lot 1    

17th Century Qing Dynasty Cannon Captured in Boxer Rebellion
4/27/2011 - Historic Firearms & Historic Militaria
An 800lb. cast bronze cannon, 3" diameter bore, 3" diameter trunnions, overall 63.5", with prolific Chinese and Manchurian characters at the breech. Includes period wooden wheels and metal straps which held together the carriage, now derelict.

Ironclad provenance relates that this gun was one of three nearly identical cannons captured in the proximity of the Ha Ta gate during the multi-national attack on the walls of the Tartar City August 13-14, 1900 during the Relief of Peking. The guns were shipped back to the United States as war souvenirs by Colonel Webb. C. Hayes, CMOH, 31st US Infantry who had served as Volunteer A.D.C. on the staff of Major General Adna R. Chaffee commanding the US contingent during the China Relief Expedition. Chaffee is also known as creator of the Military Order of the Dragon and the force behind the issue of campaign medals in the American military.

The gun made in 1695 is significant in that its design was inspired by the noted Flemish Jesuit Missionary and Imperial confidant Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688). The tube bears the names of several important Imperial cannon makers and overseers who had cast guns for the Manchu Emperor under the Verbiest's supervision. Parenthetically, just seventeen Verbiest cast guns bearing his name are known to exist, mainly in European museums. The heavy weight of this gun suggests that it was originally intended as part of a static defense. Warfare during the Qing dynasty favored smaller cannon that were more easily transported in the field. Etched into the breech the inscriptions are in Chinese and Manchurian phonetically written in the Mongolian alphabet and translate as follows:

Made on the 34th year of the reign of Emperor Kangxi [1695] at Jingshan Nei [inside Beijing]

Cannon Titled: General Zhisheng

Specification: Powder capacity 1 jin 8 lians [900 grams equivalent]. Iron cannon ball 3 jins [1800 grams equivalent]. Long range shot should be set at 45 degrees with slightly more powder added from top.

Credits: General Manufacturer Executive: Hai Qing-Imperial Guard 1st Class [highly prestigious 3rd ranking military official]

Manufacturer Overseer: Ba Fa Shou-Titled Manufacture Administrator [4th ranking civil official]

Documentation: Shuo Si Tai and Ge Er Tu [low ranking civil officials]

Casting Masters: Li Wende and Yuan Shi [Chinese, not Manchurian names]

It is difficult to say whether the bronze guns were captured in a particular action involving the American contingent or taken in situ from the southern wall adjoining the Chinese city after the fighting was over. Russian, American, and British troops were engaged near the Ta Ha gate during the uncoordinated assault of August 13-14 while zones of control for the various nationalities were not formalized until after the cessation of hostilities. That guns were plentiful is illustrated in the book Military Order of the Dragon, 1900-1911, p.33 showing at least twenty “captured Chinese cannon” parked in a row.

In a letter dated 9 May 1901 written at Spiegel Grove, Fremont, Ohio Lieutenant Colonel Webb Hayes described the background of his war souvenirs: Dear Mr.xxxx, I am happy to announce the arrival here of the Tartar bronze cannon which I found as part of the defense of the Ha Ta Gate of the Tartar City of Peking. These three guns were supposed to have been brought to Peking when the Mongols or Tartars conquered the Chinese some four hundred years ago and established the present reigning Tartar dynasty. These guns were used not only in bombarding the Legation but also against the allies, so it is said, and were the most interesting guns from a curio standpoint found on top of the Tartar wall of the city of Peking. The inscription on the cannon I hope can be deciphered. There were but three of these guns on the wall of Peking, and all were under Russian jurisdiction but through the efforts of Lt. Colonels [Joseph T.] Dickman [U.S.V., General Chaffee's Assistant Chief of Staff] and [Henry O.] Heistand, both Ohio men, I secured the promise of them all. Unfortunately, however, the Russians surrendered the care of the Ha Ta Gate to the Germans and with it the control of these guns, so that the whole question had to be taken up again. The three guns were hauled to Tung Chow some 15 or 20 miles and then dismantled an placed on Chinese junks for the 100 mile trip down the Pei Ho (River) to Tein Tsin (illegible)-then by rail to Tong Ku some thirty miles-then by lighter to the transport off Taku and thence to San Francisco. I believe that these are the only Chinese cannon brought to the United States. Very Truly Yours, (signed) Webb C. Hayes,

One of the distinctive bronze guns was presented to West Point and can be viewed in the museum’s artillery collection—Trophy Point—online.

James Webb Cook Hayes (1856-1934) was a lawyer and Ohio industrialist, born the second son of Republican President and former Civil War general Rutherford B. Hayes. During the Spanish American War Hayes enlisted as major of the 1st Ohio Cavalry and while detached as aide to General Young was slightly wounded during the Santiago campaign. As a staff officer Hayes accompanied General Miles to Puerto Rico. In July 1899 Hayes was promoted to lieutenant colonel, 31st U.S.V. Infantry and won a Medal of Honor on December 4, 1899 for heroism at Vigan, Luzon, Philippine Islands. Hayes went to China during the Boxer Rebellion as a volunteer aide-de-camp on the staff of Major General Chaffee and later acted as an observer in Korea during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-05. During the First World War, Colonel Hayes held administrative posts in France and Italy and was promoted to brigadier general after the war. A number of photographs found in Military Order of the Dragon, 1900-1911, an organization with which Hayes was closely associated, depict the officer in China during the Boxer Rebellion.

A rare and richly historic 17th artifact taken as a war souvenir during the famed China Relief Expedition of 1900.


Condition:  
Very good condition with a nice untouched patina.
Sold: $149,500.00
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
      Ask a Question

All Images

don't miss

an opportunity to bid. You can't win if you're not in.

sign up to bid

what's it worth?

ask the experts

sell your item

start selling
*Freedom Arms 454 Casull Signature Edition Revolver
Lot # 633 - *Freedom Arms 454 Casull Signature Edition Revolver
.454 Casull caliber, 7.5" barrel, S/N DC139. Polished stainless steel finish, brown laminated rosewood grips. Walnut display case with belt buckle, reloading dies, and cutouts for 5 cartridges. > Item Details
* Polish Radom  WZ-98 Rifle
Lot # 351 - * Polish Radom WZ-98 Rifle
7.92 (8mm) caliber, 29" barrel, S/N 20622. Bolt is a Polish bolt that has been re-numbered to match the rifle. Pistol grips have Nazi Waffenamt proof. Polish stock; k-98a rear band; front band appears to be a .22 KKW. > Item Details
Belgian Model 1777 Flintlock Musket
Lot # 26 - Belgian Model 1777 Flintlock Musket
.68 caliber smooth bore, 38.75" barrel, no. 1243 stamped on tang. This rifle was part of the famous Cook collection that was donated in 1929 to a Midwestern museum. > Item Details
*Model 1899 Krag Carbine
Lot # 238 - *Model 1899 Krag Carbine
.30-40 caliber, 22 in. round barrel, S/N 226520, headless cocking piece. Walnut stock and handguard. > Item Details
German Silver American-Made Saw Handle Percussion Pistol
Lot # 156 - German Silver American-Made Saw Handle Percussion Pistol
.50 caliber smoothbore, 6.5" octagonal barrel that transitions to 16 flats. Three gold bands at breech; engraved German silver frame and stock with cap box in the butt; swivel ramrod. Engraved on the left side of the upper frame with eagle over Federal shield. > Item Details
Pattern 1832 General And Staff Officer's Sword by N.P. Ames
Lot # 70 - Pattern 1832 General And Staff Officer's Sword by N.P. Ames
32" blade with center fuller. Blade is etched with panels of military motifs. Grip of sheet silver. Blade is marked at ricasso N.P. Ames, Cutler, Springfield in three lines. Gold gilt brass pommel, knuckle bow, crossguard and cupped. Metal scabbard with two carrying rings. > Item Details
US WWI ID'd 42nd Division on Mannequin with All Field Gear
Lot # 328 - US WWI ID'd 42nd Division on Mannequin with All Field Gear
Wool four pocket tunic ID'd to Pvt. Ralph Brown, Machine Gun Co. 166th regt. of Infantry. Group includes tunic, pants, side cap, field gear. > Item Details
US Massachusetts Militia Shako
Lot # 75 - US Massachusetts Militia Shako
10" composite tar bucket-style with black bearskin center and red horse hair plume on the right side and white horse hair plume on left side. State of Massachusetts tombstone-style front plate. > Item Details
Colt Texas Patterson Reproduction Revolver by Navy Arms
Lot # 600 - Colt Texas Patterson Reproduction Revolver by Navy Arms
.36 caliber, 9" barrel, S/N 2850. Blue finish with silver frame an accents, scroll engraving, burl walnut grip, fitted walnut case, powder flask, bullet mold, combination tool. One of 5 mfg. Silver Dollar City commemorative. > Item Details
*U.S. Springfield Armory Model 1922MI Bolt Action Rifle
Lot # 339 - *U.S. Springfield Armory Model 1922MI Bolt Action Rifle
.22 LR caliber, 24" barrel, S/N 6141. Blue finish, walnut stock. VBMC 1917 dated leather sling; SA 5/26 dated barrel. > Item Details
Percussion Swivel Breech Over/Under Rifle by J. Harder Lockhaven, Pa.
Lot # 93 - Percussion Swivel Breech Over/Under Rifle by J. Harder Lockhaven, Pa.
.45 caliber rifle and 16 ga. smoothbore, 37" octagonal barrels; engraved on top flat of barrel, breech and lock. Marked on top of barrel J. Harder Lockhaven Pa. He made rifles from 1838-1860. Back-action percussion locks. German silver buttplate, triggerguard, toeplate. Walnut buttstock. > Item Details
1841 Ames Naval Officer's Sword Presented to Mexican War Hero
Lot # 69 - 1841 Ames Naval Officer's Sword Presented to Mexican War Hero
27.75" quill-back blade etched with floral designs and panoply of arms. N.P. Ames Cutler Springfield etched in panel at ricasso. Gold-plated engraved feathered eagle head pommel with ruby eyes; backstrap is engraved. Gold plated knuckle bow. Pearl grips with three gold studs, aquamarine gemstone s... > Item Details
Sharps Pepperbox Deringer
Lot # 253 - Sharps Pepperbox Deringer
.22 cal., 2.5" barrel, S/N 25205. Brass frame, blue barrels, gutta percha grips. > Item Details
U.S Marked Colt  Model  1855 Revolving Rifle
Lot # 184 - U.S Marked Colt Model 1855 Revolving Rifle
.56 caliber, 31" octagonal-to-round barrel; S/N 1226. Three-leaf rear folding sight, original cleaning rod and cleaning rod tip in the buttstock. Colt's patent markings with U.S. in three lines on the upper tang. Walnut buttstock and fore end. With original brass tip in the buttstock. This rifle wa... > Item Details
Kentucky Flintlock  Pistol
Lot # 13 - Kentucky Flintlock Pistol
.44 caliber, 5.5" octagonal-to-round barrel, original flintlock, four silver inlays, brass ferules, triggerguard, brass side plate escutcheons, brass band around the stock at muzzle. Curly maple stock. > Item Details
U.S Pattern 1872 Cavalry Sword
Lot # 225 - U.S Pattern 1872 Cavalry Sword
34" blade etched with military motifs; Woodcock Uniform Company New York NY at the ricasso. Brass gold gilt knuckle bow and pommel; shagreen and brass wire wrapped handle; metal scabbard. > Item Details
German WWII 1933 Enlisted Man's SS Dagger with Hanger
Lot # 353 - German WWII 1933 Enlisted Man's SS Dagger with Hanger
Nice 8.75" blade with motto on front and SS runes, 121/34 and RZM on reverse. Has enlisted man's hanger and painted scabbard with some paint chipping. > Item Details
Half-Stock Percussion Rifle
Lot # 127 - Half-Stock Percussion Rifle
.45 caliber rifled, 39" octagonal barrel. Either North Carolina- or Virginia-style percussion rifle. Double-set triggers, brass hardware with 12 silver inlays; sideplate is in the shape of a Alligator. Very finely striped curly maple stock. > Item Details
Colt U.S. Cavalry Commemorative Set of 1860 Army Revolvers
Lot # 274 - Colt U.S. Cavalry Commemorative Set of 1860 Army Revolvers
.44 caliber, 8" barrels, S/N 2095US and US2095. Blue/cc finish, walnut grips, detachable shoulder stock, fitted walnut case with flask, bullet mold, and cap box. Colt mfg. set to commemorate the United States Cavalry. > Item Details
*Westley Richards Cased Side-by-Side Double-Barrel Ejector Shotgun
Lot # 385 - *Westley Richards Cased Side-by-Side Double-Barrel Ejector Shotgun
12 ga., 30" barrels with 2.5" chambers and choked Full/ Cylinder, S/N T520. Case colored boxlock receiver with border engraving, blue barrels, splinter forearm, English stock with 14.75" LOP over leather covered pad; 1.5" drop at the comb and 1.6" drop at the heel. Canvas covered luggage case with s... > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: