September 26, 2018 O'Connor's Americana Collection
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/26/2018
This rifle was purchased in the 1970's from Stembridge Gun Rentals, along with several other Kentucky rifles, by Walter O'Connor. The rifle was used by Fess Parker in the 1960's television series Davy Crockett, the TV film Daniel Boone, as well as being carried by an unidentified actor in John Wayne's "The Fighting Kentuckian" in 1949. It was also used in "The Iroquois Trail" in 1950 by George Montgomery. The rifle is accompanied by a large 8" by 10" original photograph of Fess Parker holding the rifle in a promotional still and signed "To: Walt O'Connor, Best Wishes! Fess Parker". This was a publicity shot taken by Joe Musso from the Disney TV film "Davey Crockett King of the Wild Frontier". The top of the octagonal rifled steel barrel is stamped "J * F * S" in block letters for maker John Fondersmith. Fondersmith was born in Pfuunstatdt, Germany in 1746 and arrived in America in 1750. He became a gunsmith in Strasburg Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and served in the militia before and during the Revolution. He died in 1821. This rifle and another rifle with nearly identical features and signed in script, John Fondersmith, are the subject of an article by Dr. Glenn Marsh in the American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin number 84 from 2001. The rifle is featured and discussed on pages 39 through 54, and a copy of this bulletin is included with the rifle, along with Walter's correspondence concerning this rifle and several stills from scenes where it was used. The rifle is an original Golden Age Lancaster County rifle, the left flat, near the breech is stamped with Stembridge Movie Rental inventory number "S 576". The lock is a replacement, but the proper for the period of the rifle and is a Germanic style lock. The rifle has brass furniture, including a four piece patchbox with the classic Lancaster daisy finial and tastefully engraved with borders and floral designs. The sideplate and toeplate are also engraved with rocker-panel borders. The full length partially figured maple stock is of familiar Lancaster County form and has some of its hand-painted faux striped decoration still visible. The rifle features relief scrolls around the barrel tang, as well as panels of checkering. It has a sleeved butt and relief scrolls on both sides of the wrist, as well as behind the cheekpiece, on the left side. The forend features carved moldings and incised and relief designs around the entry ferrule. The barrel is retained by four bras barrel keys. The hickory ramrod is old, but probably not original. There is a replaced vacant oval-shaped silver wrist ecutcheon, as well. The rifle is in very good condition, overall. the barrel retains a light brown patina with some freckling near the breech and touch-hole. The lock appears to be in original flintlock configuration. The brass retains a mellow mustard patina with some scattered marks from use. The stock has an added coat of finish and shows some wear and marks from use. Some minor wood around the lock has been professionally restored, and is not visible, with an area on the right side, around the tang, slightly deteriorated and devoid of finish. Wrist has a repaired crack. This rifle has great value as an important and iconic American weapon, both a famous piece of well-documented American movie and television history, and as a fantastic work of art and Golden Age Kentucky.
Name
Value
Accessories
Photos/Paperwork
Barrel Length
.42-1/2"
Caliber/Bore
.50 Rifled
Drop at Comb
Drop at Heel
FFL Status
Antique
Length of Pull
Manufacturer
John Fondersmith
Model
Kentucky Rifle
Paperwork
Yes
Serial Number
NSN.
Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $10,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $39,975.00
Estimate: $20,000 - $40,000
Number Bids: 17
Auction closed on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.
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