The Singing Bird Pistols

Last month Christie’s auctioned off a matching pair of “mirror-image gold, enamel, agate, pearl and diamond-set singing bird pistols”. The “pistols” are incredible. They were made by the Frères Rochat in the 1820s for the Chinese market and had an estimated auction price was $2.5 – $5 million. They sold for over $5,866,499! No description from me will do them justice, watch the video embedded after the jump.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Thank you. That set my day on a good start. The amazing pistol automatons! Some day, some Open Source buff will probably make a 3D-printed replica of these, IF he can get his hands on the incredibly complex, amazing mechanism…

  • Mark

    Does this video auto-start for anyone else? Hate it when videos do that.

  • SpudGun

    But can it cycle Wolf ammo? – Oh wait, these aren’t even real pistols, still they’re very pretty in an ostentatious way. But I’m sure I can think up better ways of spending $5 million.

    BTW Steve, as well as putting the US Dollar value of items, you might want to start listing product prices in the new currency of AR-15. Every gun forum is using this new currency which equates to $1000 = AR-15.

    eg. $3000?! – I could buy three ARs for that price! For items that don’t round up or down to a grand total, please use the ‘some ammo’ denominator. eg. $2500?! – I could buy two ARs and some ammo for that price!


  • Those are amazing!! I can’t imagine how many thousands of hours they must have spent on these. I am a little bummed they don’t actually fire.

  • Matt G.

    Spud gun. Iike the way you think. So this would be worth 5866 ARs and some ammo.

  • KP

    What an amazing piece of machinery!

  • SpudGun

    @Matt G – 🙂

    (Thanks for doing the math!)

  • Bill Lester

    An amazing level of craftsmanship went into these. What a blessing that they’ve survived in such excellent condition.

  • Máté

    These look better than that 8 million dollar Arab rifle. Also the narrator speaks like Microsoft Sam.