September 26, 2018 O'Connor's Americana Collection
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/26/2018
This rifle is featured and discussed on pages 37 and 38 of "British Flintlock Military Rifles: 1740-1840" by De Witt Bailey, Ph.D. There are four photographs of this rifle and a description which states that it is one of the two pattern Ferguson rifles supplied by London gunmaker Durs Egg to the Board of Ordnance in 1776. Walter O'Connor states in regards to these rifles: "Internationally proclaimed one of the great rarities in antique firearms is the "Ferguson Rifle" as developed by Lt. Col. Patrick Ferguson (1744-1780) of the British 70th Regiment and patented by him in December, 1776." Only 100 Ferguson rifles were made for military use during the Revolutionary War and only about 12 are known to exist today, with half of them in museum collections, thus unavailable to collectors. This example features a tapered round barrel with deep seven-groove rifling and bayonet lug mounted on bottom, near the muzzle. The front sight is mounted on top and a rear notched sight with additional folding aperture sight leaf. The top of the barrel is marked "LONDON" in front of the rear sight and behind it, inscribed "D. Egg" with a small "2" stamped in front of it. The breech is stamped with the King's proofs, the right side with a crown over crossed scepters and the left side with a crown over "GR" and a broad arrow. Forward of the breech plug is stamped with partially visible Ferguson family crest, the significance of which is currently unknown. The top of the breech plug is engraved with floral designs and behind it is stamped "FERGUS". The finely executed lockplate has a flat face with beveled edges, the center inscribed "D. Egg". The cock screw and lock retention screw are decorated with floral engraving. The ramrod ferrules, rear triggerguard tang, and buttplate are all tutenag (German Silver). the triggerguard, with integral handle and attached to the threaded breech plug, is steel. The rifle in the Royal Armories is also mounted in tutenag and numbered "15". The rifle numbered "15" is listed in Patrick Ferguson's will and was passed down through the family until purchased by collector Keith Neal before being purchased by the Royal Armories. Several sources state that the rifles made for Patrick Ferguson's personal use were mounted in silver. Partially figured walnut stock with brass band at forend, retained to barrel with three iron keys. Complete with period, possibly original brass tipped baleen ramrod. The rifle is in very good condition, all steel components have been polished, as is typical for firearms that were kept in England, and now retains a graying patina. The bore is excellent with deep clear rifling, proof marks are deep and clear. Markings are clear, but show some wear from polishing. There is some light freckling around the touch hole. The flintlock and breech-loading actions are tight and function flawlessly. The stock is very good, but upon close inspection, has a period English repair around the forestock, about 13-1/2" back and a small thin sliver replaced along the left side, about 6-1/4" long. There is a small professionally repaired crack between the triggerguard and the lock, which is a weak spot that these rifles were notorious for having. Otherwise the stock retains an even and pleasing patina with some scattered marks from use. The German silver furniture retains a mellow patina. This Ferguson rifle has strong provenance. It was first sold at Sotheby & Co. in London on December 13, 1971, as lot 71. A copied version of the catalog, featuring this rifle, is included. It was then purchased by renowned dealer and collector Eric Vaule, who purchased it from a gentleman in Canada in the 1970's. There is also a letter from Eric Vaule to Philip Baron Ennis, the man that he later sold the rifle to. The rifle then was purchased by Dave McKee, who sold it to Walter O'Connor in 1994. The original receipt is present, as well as Walter O'Connor's archive of information on every known example, correspondence with Howard Blackmore, and a copy of "British Military Flintlock Rifles" by De Witt Bailey, featuring this rifle. This example is an extremely important and historic Ferguson pattern rifle, one of only two made by Durs Egg for presentation to the king for demonstration.
Barrel Length
.65 Rifled
Drop at Comb
Drop at Heel
FFL Status
Length of Pull
Durs Egg
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $37,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $96,000.00
Estimate: $75,000 - $150,000
Number Bids: 13
Auction closed on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.
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