Piece of metal bought as a garden decoration turns out to be a medieval handgun
A cylindrical piece of metal bought at a flea market in the UK for just under $25 is actually a piece of medieval weaponry worth thousands of dollars.
The hand cannon, believed to date from around 1400, was used to decorate the rock garden of the previous owner, who had no idea what it was, according to Hanson’s auctioneers.
“When we properly appraised it, we were amazed,” said Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers. “It’s a heavy bronze cannon with three rings. This type of weapon was seen in late medieval Europe between 1400 and 1450. It was the first true small arm of its kind, the mechanically simplest form of metal-barreled firearm.”
The artifact was auctioned Thursday for over $2,500 — more than 100 times its flea market price.
Hanson said he had never seen such an object after working with antiques for 20 years.
“It’s really a remarkable find,” said Hanson. “Originally this gun was mounted on wood with a powder bag and ram rod. It evolved into a matchlock firearm with a trigger.”
Although it is not exactly clear how the first seller found the object, it was covered in earth and may have been dug up.
According to the auction house, hand cannons are considered one of the first true firearms and became widespread in China from the 13th century.
They appeared in Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries, with the first known use being around 1330 by mounted knights in what is now Germany.
The first mention of a handgun used in England dates back to the early 15th century, Hansons said.