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 turned up in Western Pennsylvania, where it has remained for nearly 70 years. It has not been previously photographed, published, or offered publicly. For an example of a rifle with very similar relief carving, buttstock and comb architecture, and trigger guard finial, see rifle number 98 on pages 430 to 433 of "Volume II: Rifles of Colonial America" by George Shumway. The rifle shown in the book has extremely similar features and is signed "J.P. Beck", who began his gunsmithing career in 1772 or 1773, according to Shumway. He worked in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Like this example, the rifle in the book also has an unusual original single-set trigger mechanism. The early heavily swamped octagonal barrel has deep eight groove rifling and a dovetailed silver front sight. One of the bottom flats is stamped with a sunken cartouche of an ax, towards the breech. The notched rear sight is in the German style and once has a folding leaf for longer distances mounted in front of the fixed sight. The early banana lockplate is Germanic in style and has three engraved lines near the tail as well as an unbridled pan. The Germanic brass furniture is cast and un-engraved. The buttplate has a three-stage stepped tang retained near the tip with a screw. The Jaeger-style trigger guard terminates with fleur-de-lis style finials ending with a ball at both ends. The trigger floorplate also mimics this design. The early ramrod ferrules have vase-and-ring turnings and the nosecap is retained to the barrel by a screw in the center of the ramrod channel. Nosecap is decorated with a wedding band. The sideplate shows Moravuian Christian Springs influence and has beveled edges and two moldings surrounded on each side by engraved lines. This early example was made without a toeplate. The full-length highly figured American maple stock shows very early form with a wide butt measuring 2-3/8" across the buttplate at the widest point. There is a sliding wooden patchbox on the right side, although the lid is an improper replacement and the four "C's" carved in front of it were added later. The left side features a molded relief cheekpiece with foliate scrolls on the left and a larger C-scroll with relief scrolls forming an "A" just as the J.P. Beck rifle in Shumway shows. There are also shaped relief panels around the lock and sideplate terminating in teardrop shapes at the back. There is a stylized relief shell design with incised decoration surrounding the barrel tang as well as relief carving around the comb. The ramrod is a contemporary replacement. For another example of a rifle with similar furniture, buttstock profile and carving, see the Johann Adolph Doll rifle on pages 67 - 76 of "Moravian Gunmaking II" by Robert Lienemann. The William Antes rifle on page 97 of "Moravian Gun Making of the Revolution" by the Kentucky Rifle Association and Kentucky Rifle Foundation has a nearly identical sideplate and similar carving, as well. CONDITION: Barrel retains a mostly brown surface and shows some wear and scratches. Lockplate is original but lock is a good professional reconversion, functions properly. Furniture shows scattered marks from use and some wear, retains a mustard patina. Foremost ramrod ferrule shows some denting. Stock retains a pleasing patina with much original dark finish in protected areas. Stock shows heavy wear, minor chipping, and some hairline cracks. No wood has been added or restored. A very important and early American Jaeger rifle that clearly depicts the German roots of later "Kentucky" Longrifles. DMG
Barrel Length
30 - 3/4"
.65 Rifled
FFL Status
American Flintlock Jaeger Rifle
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $22,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $35,000.00
Estimate: $45,000 - $80,000
Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.
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