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The mysterious disappearance of a pair of George Washington’s Lafayette pistols

What happened to the fabulous treasure trove that passed to a reclusive heiress in Kildare? 

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American heiress Anne Bullitt

American heiress Anne Bullitt

A nine-year-old Annie Bullitt sits on her father's knee in 1933

A nine-year-old Annie Bullitt sits on her father's knee in 1933

George Washington gave the Marquis of Lafayette a pair of pistols after the American Continental Army defeated the British at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781

George Washington gave the Marquis of Lafayette a pair of pistols after the American Continental Army defeated the British at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781

One of Anne Bullitt's unique hand-painted Chinese screens. Photo: Adam's

One of Anne Bullitt's unique hand-painted Chinese screens. Photo: Adam's

Palmerstown House is now owned by Luke and Brian Comer

Palmerstown House is now owned by Luke and Brian Comer

A model wears a Cartier diamond necklace which Anne Bullitt had owned

A model wears a Cartier diamond necklace which Anne Bullitt had owned

Jim Mansfield Snr

Jim Mansfield Snr

The Adam's salesroom in Dublin, which handled the sale of a collection of clothing from French fashion houses belonging to a American heiress Anne Bullitt. Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire

The Adam's salesroom in Dublin, which handled the sale of a collection of clothing from French fashion houses belonging to a American heiress Anne Bullitt. Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire

William Bullitt with the pistols

William Bullitt with the pistols

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American heiress Anne Bullitt

When she died in a nursing home in Shankill, Co Dublin, 15 years ago next week, Anne Bullitt was virtually a recluse — remembered only by a small circle of horse-racing folk as the “elegant lady” who appeared at unglamorous race-meetings, beautifully turned out in Chanel and other outfits from the couture houses of Paris.

But the heiress to a fortune of over $20m has left behind one of the enduring mysteries of modern Irish crime: what happened to a pair of 18th century pocket pistols, given by George Washington to the Marquis of Lafayette after the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, for his services in defeating the British?


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