January 16, 2020 The Susquehanna Collection
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/16/2020
According to a handwritten letter on the Lancaster County Historical Society letterhead signed by Sam E. Dyke, a John Switzer is listed in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania tax records between 1777 and 1786 as a locksmith; he died in 1788. He appears in the tax records as early as 1760 with no named occupation. Dyke dates these pistols between 1770 and 1780 and does attribute them to John Switzer. Also included in this letter is a copy of the Lancaster Borough tax records for 1782 listing John Switzer as a locksmith. These fine American silver mounted pistols have a fantastic provenance as they were in the collections of John S. duMont (his collection inventory for these pistols is included), and Joe Kindig, Jr. They are also accompanied by a four page handwritten letter on Kindig's letterhead describing the characteristics of the pistols and information on other known examples that are comparable. There is also a series of original photographs from John duMont's collection of these pistols. They are very similar is style to the famous pair of silver-mounted Frederick Zorger flintlock pistols, which are now displayed at Winterthur. Very few pairs of fine American pistols exist, especially of this quality and from this early period. Both pistols are in the English style and comparable in terms of their quality. Both have fine iron two stage smoothbore barrels engraved with foliate motifs around the breech and around the band separating the sections. Both have a relief wedding band at the breech and engraved tangs. Both have finely engraved lockplates with convex faces engraved with rococo shells and scrolls. In the center of both locks there is a banner inscribed "Switzer". The frizzens, frizzen springs, and screws are all engraved with decoration. Both pistols are silver mounted. The sideplates pierced and chased with arms motifs. The triggerguards are unique and terminate with a shell on a post at the finial. Both bows are finely engraved with a sun rising over a mountain. Silver ramrod ferrules and pommel caps chased with relief floral designs and shell motifs. The wrist escutcheons are both decorated with foliate motifs at the bottom and shells at the top, and are engraved in the centers with a heraldic arm clutching a sword. They are stocked in partially figured walnut and have attractive form. There are relief carved shells around the barrel tangs and relief panels terminating in teardrops around the locks and sideplates. Both have wooden ramrods, one a replacement. CONDITION: Barrels retain a spotted grey patina and show some light wear. Locks retain a grey patina as well and are in their original flintlock configuration. Both have crisp engraving and function properly. Silver retains a mellow grey patina and has not been recently polished. One pistol has a period repair on each side of the trigger guard bow beneath the lock cavity and sideplate; this repair has been executed using two strips of sheet brass inlaid into the stock, each 1-3/4" strip is retained by two screws. This pistol also has a small piece professionally replaced on the right side along the forend, as well as a piece above the front lock tang. The pistol was once broken through the lock and sideplate and repaired during the period. There are some minor losses between the brass repair and the sideplate, and some scattered age cracks and marks from use. Pistols have had some finish added to the wood. The other pistol also has a sliver repaired above the front lock tang and is also cracked between the lockplate and the sideplate on the underside. American pistols of the Revolutionary War period and of this high quality are extremely rare and seldom encountered. PROVENANCE: The pistols are illustrated in the Antique Arms Annual, 1st Edition 1971, page 67 and in "The Kentucky Rifle" by Merrill Lindsay as numbers 68 and 69 in Chapter 20. Pistols were on display at the York Historical Society of York County and are shown on pages 68 and 69 of "The York Historical Society of York County" by Arma Press. "Kentucky Rifles and Pistols 1750-1850" by Golden Age Arms Company and James R. Johnston, page 216. 2005 Kentucky Rifle Association CD. Featured on page 274 as plate 43.PP of "Battle Weapons of the American Revolution" by George C. Neumann. Ex Joe Kindig, Jr. Collection, Ex. John S. duMont Collection. CORRECTION: The wood on these pistols has recently been tested and is not accompanied by a certificate from Alden Identification Services. Both stocks are American Black Walnut. Both barrel lengths are 8-1/16"
Barrel Length
(A) 8 - 1/16" (B) 8 - 1/16"
(A) .56 Smoothbore (B) .56 Smoothbore
FFL Status
John Sweitzer
Flintlock Officer
Folder with Provenance and Photos
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $25,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $78,000.00
Estimate: $50,000 - $100,000
Number Bids: 15
Auction closed on Thursday, January 16, 2020.
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