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Video: Mountbatten’s poison pen goes under the hammer

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IT IS an item once owned by Lord Mountbatten that James Bond would probably covet.

In keeping with the exploits of 007 the seemingly harmless looking gold-plated pen has a dark secret - it hides a deadly pistol. The weapon was given to Lord Mountbatten to be used if he ever fell into the wrong hands.

The pistol remained in the hands of his family until recent times when it was bought by an unknown collector in the Yorkshire area but it is now due to go under the hammer once again at an auction in March.

Nicholas Holt, founder of Holt’s Auctioneers, which is selling the item said: “Its only the second time that it has been up for auction.

“The Maharaja of Jodphur built it for his friend in case he got himself in a position where he had to sign something which he did not wish to sign - either to kill himself or the enemy.”

It is estimated that the item will fetch between £5,000-£7,000 when it goes under the hammer.

The weapon was this week on display at Holt’s Auctioneers gun valuation day at Orvis in West Park, Harrogate.

Mr Holt said the deadly pen pistol was handmade and would have been specially built for Mountbatten.

“I could not say it was unique,” Mr Holt said.

“There are other 007 disguised pen pistols out there,” he added.

The pen, also referred to a pencil pistol, was built in 1948 and features a 2 3/4in smooth‐bore barrel containing a removable propelling pencil mechanism, the outer body inscribed ‘Gun Shop Jodphur, 1948’, with the rear half of the body forming a sliding breech and concealed trigger.

It will be sold by Norfolk-based Holt’s Auctioneers to be included in the sale of Fine Modern and Antique Guns at Princess Louise House, Hammersmith Road, London on March 21.

Mr Holt, said any sale would be subject to strict laws governing the sale of arms and said he hoped that a museum might be interested in buying the item that has played such an important role in the nation’s history.

When the item was last up for sale it was one of a number of military items that belonged to Lord Mountbatten, some of which he used in World War II and they reputedly helped to preserve his life.

They had been at the Imperial War Museum after legislation following the Dunblane massacre in 1996 banned the ownership of handguns. But Lord Mountbatten’s family later decided to sell the items.

Lord Mountbatten was a British statesman and naval officer, an uncle of the Duke of Edinburgh, who was the last Viceroy of India.

He was killed in 1979 by the IRA while he was on holiday in Ireland.

James Doyle, store manager at The Orvis Harrogate Store said of the pistol pen: “It really is a fascinating little thing.

“This item I believe was a part of the mystique which went through that community which led to stories like the Bond stories.”

He said that the store held gun valuation days about four times a year. He said people interested in Holt’s next free gun valuation day taking place at Orvis Harrogate should contact Holt’s Auctioneers on 01485 542822.

Lord Mountbatten was killed with three others when the IRA detonated a bomb on his boat as he holidayed in Co Sligo in 1979.

The former Viceroy of India was killed on board a boat off Mullaghmore by an IRA gang using a radio controlled device.

One of Lord Mountbatten’s twin grandsons, Nicholas, 14, and Paul Maxwell, 15, a local teenager employed to help on the boat, also died in the explosion.

An elderly relative of Lord Mountbatten, Lady Doreen Brabourne, was injured in the attack and died later.

The bombing was a major blow to the Royal Family and at a subsequent memorial service to his loved one, Prince Charles reportedly hit out at the “sub-human extremists” capable of such an act.

Last year the Queen publicly shook the hand of former IRA commander Martin McGuinness and held private talks with him

The Stormont Deputy First Minister later revealed that he addressed the 1979 murder when he met the Queen privately in Belfast.

 

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