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 attributed to Bonewitz with a nearly identical patchbox; see page 210 of "Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age: Annotated Third Edition" by Joe Kindig, Jr. John Bonewitz was born in 1758 and is listed as a gunsmith just east of Womelsdorf, Berks County, Pennsylvania in 1792 and 1800. In 1780 he is listed as a "Single Freeman" in the tax records for Womelsdorf. This early example is inscribed "JB" on the brass oval-shaped wrist escutcheon, presumably for John Bonewitz. This rifle may date as early as 1780. The wide slightly crescent buttplate measures 1 7/8" across the center. The two stage barrel has sights mounted on top and is unsigned. The flat lockplate is Germanic with beveled edges and a flute at the tail. The brass furniture includes a classic engraved four piece Bonewitz patchbox engraved with shaded scrolls and foliate scrolls and florals on the lid. As pointed out by Henry Bishop in the Annotated Third Edition, Bonewitz used two rivets for his patchbox catch, unlike other makers in that area that used only one. It also has the release button located in the center of the buttplate. The rest of the furniture is unengraved. The slender highly figured maple stock features extensive high-relief scrolls on both sides of the molded relief cheekpiece. There are elongated relief carved panels around the lock and sideplate, terminating at the back in teardrops. There is a relief scroll motif of classic Bonewitz design around the barrel tang and ramrod entry ferrule. There are also small relief and incised scrolls on the right side of the wrist. Complete with its original wooden ramrod. CONDITION: Barrel retains an even brown surface with some corrosion near touch hole. Lock retains a brown patina and appears to be in its original flintlock configuration. Lock functions well. Brass retains a pleasing dark mustard patina, showing some light wear and scattered marks. Stock is very good, showing some minor wear and scattered marks from use. A beautiful early Golden Age rifle in very good condition. DMG

Item Dimensions: L: 65"
Barrel Length
49 - 1/4"
.58 Smoothbore
Drop at Comb
Drop at Heel
FFL Status
Length of Pull
John Bonewitz, Attributed
Kentucky Rifle
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $15,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $43,200.00
Estimate: $30,000 - $80,000
Number Bids: 11
Auction closed on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
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