October 30 - November 2, 2018 Firearms, Militaria, & Sporting
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/30/2018
John Schirer was a gunmaker in Charleston, SC, with estimated working dates of between 1806 and his death in 1828. From these pistols and other examples of his surviving work, it is obvious that he was very skilled and most likely trained in London or Ireland. It appears that he was also a talented silversmith and accomplished engraver, as the work on these pistols is of consummate quality. It appears that these pistols were entirely hand made in America by Mr. Schirer, as there are no proof marks or numbers on barrels or locks, and no hallmarks on silver parts as would be expected on imported components. Stocks are of American walnut cut from the juncture of stem and root for good grain flow. These pistols have 11 - 3/8" .61 caliber barrels transitioning from 2" of octagon at breech ends to round tapering toward muzzles. They are fitted with typical half stock under ribs holding oak or hickory ramrods with brass tips and tails. Innovative and very rare full length top ribs have fluted sides. Top rear portions of ribs are impressed with platinum poincon marked "CHARLESTON". Small bead front sights are dovetailed through. There are two platinum bands at breech ends, and although it appears that barrels have British type patent breeches, they have hollowed breech plugs with angled side ignition. Touch holes are platinum lined in British style. Nicely engraved breech irons have dovetailed through U-notch rear sights. Locks with full waterproof pans and roller bridled frizzens have rebated tails and reinforced cocks. They are also fitted with back sliding safeties that engage at half cock. Locks are engraved with traditional feather bursts at tails and in front of cocks. "SCHIRER" is in platinum poincon under each pan. Triggers are set and have capstan type adjustment screws. American walnut saw-handled half stocks have green horn tips and fully checkered flared grips. All furniture is of silver including thimbles, and trigger guards with original finger spurs. Trigger guard finials are of traditional pineapple shape, but are engraved with palmetto fronds as fitting for South Carolina made pistols. "SCHIRER" is stamped at grips in area where British hallmarks would normally be found, indicating that Mr. Schirer wanted the world to know that the silverwork was his. Trigger guard bows also have armorial and floral engraving within geometric borders. Bottoms of grips are inlet with large silver ovals engraved with the coat of arms of someone who was most likely very important and is worthy of further study. Arms depict a heart and Templar cross quartered by seven stars on a shield over crossed branches, shield is surmounted by Knights helm capped by a bird all surrounded by scroll. Barrels attach to stocks with captive side bolts through truncated rectangular silver escutcheons. Pistols are housed in an old mahogany case with D-ring handle, and lined in green cloth. Case contains an old handmade turnscrew and some scraps of cloth. CONDITION: Very good to fine. Barrels are smooth, even gray to brown patina with some scattered pitting at right side of breech ends around touch holes. Locks are mostly gray to brown patina. Stocks retain most of their original varnish or French polish finish with numerous minor marks, dings, and rubs. Checkering somewhat worn. Stocks have no noted repairs. Silver is very fine, not rubbed, lightly tarnished, all engraving clear. Bores are mostly shiny with scattered pitting toward muzzles. Locks and frizzens are excellent. Safeties work. Set triggers work. One cock appears to be in exceptionally fine, almost indistinguishable old hand made replacement. This cock also has newer replaced top jaw and screw. Case is expertly cut down from a longer English gun case, and retains most of its original varnish and has a great look. Pistols fit quite well and distressed interior cloth is of the right color. American Flintlock duelers are quite rare; Southern silver mounted examples exceedingly so. It appears John Schirer died at a relatively young age. Judging by the quality of his work, had he lived for another 20 years, he would have been remembered as one of America's best gun makers. An investment opportunity. MGM47
Wooden Case & Accessories
Barrel Length
11 - 3/8"
.615 Smoothbore
FFL Status
John Schirer
Flintlock pistols
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $6,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium:
Estimate: $12,500 - $17,500
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Friday, November 2, 2018.
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