The collection of Ben Michel, who focused on French firearms, and Mel Flanagan, who assembled an intriguing array of European and American firearms will excite collectors.

Jack Lewis, Cowan's director of Historic Firearms and Early Militaria, said of the sale: "I have never seen the quality of European items and multi-barreled oddities like those in this auction.''

"There are so many unbelievable pieces in both collections."

The sale of the Ben Michel collection will begin proceedings on 3rd November. Michel is a retired New Jersey attorney, U.S. Army veteran and former special agent in charge of counterintelligence. He is also past president of the New Jersey Antique Weapons Association, as well as a judge at major gun shows in Richmond and Baltimore.

This is Michel's second auction of significant antique firearms. In 2007 his collection of Confederate weapons was sold by James D. Julia for more than $1 million. This time around, the specialty is French military arms from the 1700s to the start of World War II. 

The French regulation arms are grouped into approximately 350 lots consisting of handguns, long arms, edged weapons, headgear and accessories. Prime examples include Model 1855 a general staff officer's double-barrel percussion pistol made at Saint-Etienne which is estimated to fetch between $35 000 to $50 000.

Model 1855 Regulation General Staff Officer's Double-Barrel Percussion Pistol, French Model 1855 Regulation General Staff Officer's Double-Barrel Percussion Pistol, French

As well as firearms, significant examples of French headgear include a 1st Empire 3rd Line infantry officer's shako, Model 1812, estimated at $30 000 to $35 000.A 1st Empire 2nd Chevau Legers Lanciers of the Imperial Guard enlisted czapska, an important specimen from one of Napoleon's famous guard units is expected to reach $25 000 - $30 000.

On 4th November the sale of Mel Flanagan's collection will take place. Flanagan is a World War II Navy veteran who served aboard the U.S.S. Douglas H. Fox, which saw action against the Japanese. Following the war, Flanagan worked in construction in his family's cement business. It was during this time he began collecting firearms, with special interest in the blunderbuss. He also sought alarm and trap guns, pepperboxes, sword and knife pistols, knuckle-dusters, derringers and a variety of oddities. His collection gained national attention when he was invited to join The American Society of Arms Collectors in 1996. He is also a former president of the Colorado Gun Collectors Association.

Cowan's Lewis commented on the collection: "Never has there been this large a collection of those great oddities."

Rare Pair of English Brass Blunderbuss Flintlock Short Rifles by with Spring Bayonets, ca 1800 Rare Pair of English Brass Blunderbuss Flintlock Short Rifles by with Spring Bayonets, ca 1800

A pair of horseman's flintlock pistols in Flanagan's collection, which are rare because they are equipped with spring bayonets have an estimate of $7 000 to $14 000.

Check out Cowan's on Barnebys here.

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