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The arms collection at the Gatchina palace was started by the palace’s first owner, Grigory Orlov, and continued to grow with additions from its successive owners.
The collection suffered extensive damage following the 1917 revolution. Many of the most contemporary guns, by the standards of the time, were removed by the Petrograd Emergency Commission in the early 1920s, some weapons of oriental and Caucasian make were transferred to other museums, while a few dozen of the most valuable pieces, mostly pistols, were sold at auctions abroad in the 1930s, when sales of art works were common. However, the core of the collection was preserved. During World War II, the collection suffered minor damage as a result of evacuation and now have been returned to the Gatchina palace almost entirely. It is justly considered to be one of the finest collections of hunting weapons in Russia.
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