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Holland & Holland Pair of 12 ga 2 Inch Centenary Royal Self Openers

Serial Number 32993 32994



True pair of Holland & Holland 12g 2 Inch Centenary Royal Self-Openers made in 1935. 

Lightweight 12 bore guns have always had some place in each maker's repertoire, but they were especially popular between the two world wars. While the 2” shot shell had been invented in the 1800’s, according to Donald Dallas, author of Holland & Holland, the Royal Gun Maker (2002), the 2” cartridge was re-introduced by the B’ham trade in the late 1920’s. The shells were just over 2” in length and used 26gr and ¾ oz. of shot. Very similar load to a 20g. This load was adopted for Holland’s 2” gun, originally called a “Twelve-Two”.  

Holland’s “Twelve-Two” was introduced in the early 1930’s to fire the 2” cartridge and was extremely lightweight, weighing around 5 lbs. 7 oz. with 28” barrels. It was available in all 4 qualities (grades): Modele-de-Luxe, Royal, Badminton, and Dominion.  

In 1935, as part of the centenary celebrations of the Holland & Holland firm (1835 – 1935), the “Twelve-Two” was renamed the “Centenary” and continued to be listed under this name well into the 1960’s.  

These are the only two “Royal” model H&H Centenary guns I have ever encountered, and they are the only true pair of Centenary guns I have seen.  

They include Holland’s patented bar-action Royal sidelock ejector with hand detachable locks, two triggers, automatic safety, and self-opening mechanism. The lock plates and action bodies have the house’s “Royal” engraving pattern with “Royal Self-Opener Pat’d 1922” engraved on the bottom of the action. Gold lined cocking indicators and the word “SAFE” inlaid in gold as well. 

Each gun still has their original 28” chopper-lump barrels engraved: “Holland & Holland” and “98 New Bond Street, London” on the right and left barrels. “Centenary” and “For 2” Cases Only” on the top rib. Both sets of barrels remain in proof with their 2” chambers and good bore diameters and decent minimum wall thickness. Each set of barrels is fitted with Holland’s patented self-opening mechanism.  

The stocks are made of well matched and nicely figured walnut stocks with traditional drop points, straight grips, and diamond shaped hands. The guns have 15” LOP over 1 3/8” Wood extension (13 ½" over wood stock). The wooden stock extensions are very nicely done but could easily be replaced by nice leather covered pads. Splinter forends with push rod releases and Holland’s south gate ejectors.  

The receiver, barrels, and forend are numbered “1” and “2” in gold as appropriate and the guns both weigh a lively 5 lbs. 7 oz. Below the weight of most 20g guns and closer to that of most 28 bores.  

The guns remain excellent as partially refinished. Re-black on barrels and furniture is 99% and refinish to stocks remain excellent. The action body and lock plates retain traces of original color hardening. Barrels remains dent and bulge free, and bores are spotless. Ejectors are strong and well timed, and barrels remain tight and on face.  

Complete in a two gun motor case with Maker’s trade label and charge card.  

A very rare pair of guns that are a joy to handle. 

Good selection of modern 2” shells is also available, and some included with the gun.  

Please call for details.  


Location US
Make Holland & Holland
Calibre/Gauge 12g (2")
Action Sidelock
Triggers 2
Ejectors Southgate
Barrel Length 28"
Rib Smooth
Chamber 2"
Choke Right .008" & .003"
Choke Left .008" & .003"
Stock Straight
LOP 15"
Weight 5lbs 8oz
Case Motor Case