A Pair of Arresting Montenegrin Gasser Revolvers
The pair sold at auction for $2,185.
This is quite the eye-catching pair of revolvers...
The Model 1870 Gasser was a behemoth of a pistol designed by Leopold Gasser for the Austro-Hungarian cavalry - it was built around the 11x36mm cartridge used in their Werndl cavalry carbines. This cartridge was a middle ground between rifle and pistol; light enough to not produce punishing recoil when fired from a short and light carbine, but fairly huge for a revolver. But it was not in the hands of those cavalry troops that these guns gained their notoriety.
Instead it was during the reign of King Nicholas of Montenegro from 1910 to 1918 that they saw their prominence appear. Nicolas decreed that all his male subjects must own a Gasser-pattern revolver under penalty of law. This was ostensively a move to make the tiny Montenegrin kingdom less vulnerable to conquest by any one of its larger neighbors, but allegedly may have also had something to do with the King owning stock in the Gasser firm.
At any rate, the law called for Gasser-*pattern* guns (not necessarily the real thing), and so a substantial demand flourished for Spanish and Belgian guns of that basic design. They were made in a huge variety of flavors; solid frame and hinged, long barrels and short, and many different specific cartridges, finishes, and levels of embellishment. With every man required to own one, the revolver naturally became a status symbol, with the more well-off showing their wealth through a highly decorated sidearm.
Whether you appreciate the style of these two or not, they certainly catch the eye!