Sometime in 2002 or 2003 a company called IMA acquired from the former Kingdom of Nepal access to their royal armory and upon visiting it found thousands of antique firearms. Unlike Western countries, which when a gun becomes obsolete, disposes of the weapon, Nepal stored them. The result was thousands of, rare in the West, weapons which became rare over 100 years ago were found stored inside the huge royal armory.
Amongst the hundreds of cannon, swords, bayonets, pistols and Gatling guns were thousands of British Martini Henry rifles as well as early firearms unique to Nepal. IMA purchased everything they could (over 30 shipping containers full of weapons).
The downside of their acquisition is the weapons had not been maintained once placed into storage in an old palace. They had been covered in a local (yak) grease, put in piles, then ignored, many over 140 years ago. Insects found some of them. In time some became exposed to dripping water when the roof leaked. The result is some became badly corroded. Further it developed some of the weapons were stored while in need of minor repairs or with missing small parts such as screws or new springs. All of the weapons are best described as filthy.
Yes, IMA has cleaned and checked some of the weapons, and sells them at expensive prices commensurate with their rarity. They also sell those they have not yet touched, and sell them at bargain basement prices too.
Over a decade ago when the recovered armory cache was a new purchase I had occasion to meet with an IMA representative and examine the two uncleaned specimens he had with him. Let us just say those two were in horrible shape with cracked stocks, missing screws, visible rust and severe pitting. I rejected the idea of purchasing them. The ones I looked at back then were suitable only as wall hangers and not pretty ones either.
With hindsight I realize IMA had chosen weapons from the top of the piles. Underneath things stayed much drier. I have an old Martini Henry carbine I acquired from another source which shoots just fine.
However after 15 years IMA is probably nearing the bottom of the pile. Some sorting has happened and weapons best used for spare parts are now being sold as such. So now there are 3 main categories, parts, untouched and cleaned. Also there has been some sorting weapons by both type and variation, i.e., Marrk IIs, Mark IIIs, Mark IVs, etc. In late June this year I decided to gamble and take a chance that if I bought one the untouched weapons it may turn out to be a very decent acquisition once cleaned up. I therefore purchased from IMA an untouched Martini Henry rifle with markings from the 1870s. I also, just for the heck of it, purchased an English sword bayonet.
What you see here is my first unpacking of the box that arrived on July 3rd.
I am a happy camper. May all of your purchases be as good.