BUCHAREST, Romania — Romanian Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu’s most treasured firearm, a Holland & Holland hunting rifle, is going up for auction.

The gold-embellished gun, commissioned for King Carol II in 1933, is being offered Tuesday at a starting price of 12,000 euros ($13,700).

After the monarchy was abolished at the end of WWII, the communists confiscated the royal rifle. Decades later it came into Ceausescu’s possession, and his name was engraved on it.

“The Holland & Holland rifle is top of the range, the most luxurious,” Cristian Gavrila, an evaluator at Artmark auction house, told The Associated Press. “It is attractive for anyone even without the story of Romanian royalty and Ceausescu.”

A total of 15 antique rifles and pistols are on offer at the auction.

Ceausescu went hunting on Dec. 10, 1989, two weeks before he and his wife were executed after a summary trial. Though he officially was credited with killing 400 animals, he was said to be a poor shot, so his companions would shoot his quarry.

Author photo
ALISON MUTLER
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.