May 18, 2021 Early Arms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/18/2021
For an example with a similar patchbox, see page 71 of "Arms Makers of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania" by Wood & Whisker. The example shown in the book and this example both have the same furniture and engraved "Whale Tail" patchbox finials. John Phillip Beck (1751-1811) was a master gunsmith in Lebanon Township, Lancaster County. Beck took the oath of allegiance to Pennsylvania in 1778 and was paid to repair arms in Lancaster County for the militia from 1777-1781. According to the book referenced above, J.P. Beck's guns are the epitome of late 18th century gun making. The octagonal barrel is inscribed "J*P Beck" on the top flat, although the "P*" is no longer there, as the sight was once moved back and a sight blank now occupies that area. The flat Germanic lockplate has beveled edges and a molding at the tail. The ornate brass four-piece patchbox has a "whale tail" finial and is engraved with scrolls, borders, and a punch dot checkered oval on the lid. There is an engraved silver moon with a face inlaid on the wrist and an engraved eight point silver star above the cheekpiece engraved with initials "JM" and surrounded by inlaid brass wire. There are a total of eight silver inlays including three engraved oval escutcheons on each side surrounding the iron barrel keys. The brass tombstone shaped toeplate is engraved with foliate scrolls around the screw in the center. In front of the toeplate is an ovoid inlay for a touch hole pick that is now absent. The highly figured maple stock of classic Lancaster form is extensively relief and incise carved. There are relief panels around the lock and sideplate terminating in the back with teardrops. There are relief scrolls with incised accents on both sides of the wrist and an extensive incised and relief scroll design around the barrel tang. Incised scrolls run the entire length beneath the molded cheekpiece, connecting the two displays of relief designs. Behind the cheekpiece, there is a large foliate C scroll surrounded by other relief foliate scrolls and extensive incised details, including two shaped panels of checkering. There is a large incised double scroll in front of the trigger guard tang and scrolls on both sides of the forend, above the ramrod entry ferrule. There is double relief molding along the ramrod channel on both sides of the forend. The brass-tipped wooden ramrod is a replacement. CONDITION: Barrel retains a grey patina with scattered areas of freckling and pitting, with some heavier corrosion at breech. Signature is clear, except for the "P" obscured by a sight blank. Lock is a good professional reconversion, functions well and retains a dark grey patina. Brass has been polished and retains a mellowing patina with some scattered marks from use. Silver inlays retain a dark pewter patina. Stock retains a pleasing color and shows no replaced wood or restoration. There is a small crack at the toe and scattered minor bruises and marks from use. Carving is excellent showing some light wear in the expected areas. One minor area of burnout just behind pan. It would be difficult to find a better example of a signed relief carved Golden Age rifle by J.P. Beck with carving and decoration as extensive as this example. DMG

Item Dimensions: L: 62"
Barrel Length
43 - 1/8"
.64 Smoothbore
Drop at Comb
Drop at Heel
FFL Status
Length of Pull
J.P. Beck
Kentucky Rifle
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $20,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $120,000.00
Estimate: $40,000 - $80,000
Number Bids: 18
Auction closed on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
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