April 11-13, 2023 Firearms and Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/12/2023
First half of the 19th century, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Melchior Fordney was famously murdered by a John Haggerty, a crazed religious fanatic in 1846. Fordney denied him the use of one of his rifles to shoot his horse and Haggerty returned with a tomahawk and murdered him. Fordney is remembered today as a grand master of the late golden age, and his work often is seen with deep, bold engraving and beautiful woodcarving. His guns are known as quintessential Lancaster rifles, with their folk art appeal and inclusion of almost all of the Lancaster characteristics. He worked as a gunsmith from 1807 through 1846 at his shop on South Queen Street in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Although unsigned, this gun has several signature features used by Fordney. These include the gadrooned nose cap and the engraving designs and use of shaped checkered panels on the buttplate, trigger guard and sideplate escutcheons. This rifle has a 2-stage barrel with brass front blade sight and notched iron rear sight. The flat lockplate is unmarked. Plain maple stock of Lancaster form with shaped checkered panels around the wrist. Replaced pewter oval-shaped wrist escutcheon. Brass furniture engraved with classic designs used by Fordney. Single trigger and original rope-burned wooden ramrod. CONDITION: Barrel retains a brown patine, shows scattered marks from use. Lock is a good professional reconversion and does not hold on half-cock, retains a brown surface. Brass furniture retains a pleasing mustard patina. Stock shows scattered minor marks from use and some minor age cracks, small chip replaced at toe. An attractive Lancaster buck-and-ball.
Barrel Length
42 - 3/8"
.54 Smoothbore
FFL Status
Melchior Fordney, Attributed
Kentucky Rifle
Gewirz Appraisal Letter
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $750.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $4,320.00
Estimate: $1,500 - $3,500
Number Bids: 10
Auction closed on Thursday, April 13, 2023.
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