November 17, 2020 Early Arms & Militaria: Age of Exploration, Empire & Revolution
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/17/2020
This rifle was featured on the cover of "Man at Arms" magazine in Volume 29, No. 5 in 2007. The rifle is also featured and discusses on pages 18-21 of Vol 36, No. 2 of "Man at Arms" magazine from April of 2014, in an article titled "John Philip Beck, American Master Gunsmith" by Mike D'Ambra. The rifle is also shown in the "Roll of Honor" in Volume 30, No. 3 of "Man at Arms" magazine from 2008. This is the earliest known signed J.P. Beck rifle and it displays many of the features attributed to the Hawkin/Haga gun workshop. The rifle probably dates to the 1770s and when it was made, J.P. Beck was in the exploratory stage of his gun making career, before evolving into his later more traditional style as a master gunsmith. Until the discovery of this rifle, it has been unknown where J.P. Beck apprenticed, before settling in Lebanon in 1777, where he opened his own gun shop and established himself as one of the finest gunsmiths of the time. This early and attractive example features a fully octagonal barrel with a brass front sight and notched rear sight. Both sights have a single line engraved both in front of them and behind them. The 43 - 3/8" .50 caliber rifled barrel is inscribed "J. P. Beck" on the top flat. The flat Germanic lockplate has beveled edges and a molding towards the tail. The brass furniture includes a nearly straight buttplate with faceted tang that measures 2" at the widest spot. The early four-piece patchbox is retained by brass pins and the finial retained by screws. The patchbox skirts and finial are engraved with detailed scrollwork, and the lid is inscribed "Christian Georgey", who is probably the original owner. The classic sideplate is flat with beveled edges and the trigger guard is faceted. The rifle is stocked in partially figured maple and the form is of familiar Berks County style. There are relief carved panels with long extensions in the back, terminating in teardrops around the lock and sideplate. There is an elongated, relief carved, stylized Fleur-de-Lis around the barrel tang and a relief carved shell behind the ramrod entry ferrule. There is also a relief molding around the ramrod channel and along the bottom of the buttstock. This rifle was made without a toe plate. There are incised scrolls on both sides of the relief cheekpiece on the left side of the buttstock. Complete with a proper wooden ramrod. CONDITION: The barrel retains a mostly gray patina, showing some wear and scattered dark spots. Signature shows some wear but is visible. There is some heavier corrosion towards the breech. Lock is a good professional reconversion and functions properly, retaining a mix of patina and applied brown finish. Brass retains a mellowing patina. Trigger guard has a repaired break behind the bow. Furniture shows some wear and scattered marks from use. Stock shows some wear to carving behind the ramrod entry ferrule and some minor slivers have been replaced around the lock. About 22" of the forend have been properly restored and detection is nearly impossible. This is a very early, important and attractive signed "J.P. Beck" rifle. PROVENANCE: Ex. Doc Huckabba, Joe Frank, and John McWhorter I & II Collections. Mike D'Ambra Collection. DMG

Item Dimensions: 60"
Barrel Length
43 - 3/8"
.50 Rifled
FFL Status
J.P. Beck
Kentucky Rifle
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $13,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium:
Estimate: $25,000 - $50,000
Number Bids: 8
Auction closed on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.
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