July 13-15, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/13/2021
Morphy Auctions is proud to offer this gorgeous percussion Kentucky style rifle recently discovered in Switzerland with consignor provenance saying this rifle once belonged to a Dr. Emmanuel Meyer born in Basel, Switzerland in 1818. Consignor provides documents of baptism and certification of ship's Doctor in Holland around 1842. Research done on Meyer indicates he was part of a German Prince's excursion to the United States in the 1840's. One of the letters in the group is from the State of Texas, County of San Patristo thanking him for his honorable service as a Major in the United States Army in 1845 by the commander in chief of Texas Rangers "J. T. Hayes"(Whether this is a misspelling or poor writing J. C. Hayes was the correct spelling). This letter also bears the Seal of the United States Consulate in Switzerland confirming his service. Meyer was hired as a surgeon by Prince Carl Solms-Braunfels who was the Commissioner-General of the Society for the protection of German Immigrants in Texas, "Der Adelsverin" for short. On one occasion Solms-Braunfels mentions Meyer removing an Indian Arrow from the jaw of a wounded Texas Ranger. Research places him back in Switzerland by 1847. Although absent of ownership marks, the consignor has stated that this firearm and documentation were obtained by a relative from the Meyer Estate in Switzerland where the rifle has been since the 1840's. The rifle on its own is quite a work of art and was built by "Joseph Cooper" of New York City. Cooper worked in New York City according to Seller's from 1831 to 1858 fitting the time frame of Meyer's stay in the United States. This rifle is a true masterpiece of gunsmithing and artistic ability and would have cost more than any other average man could afford at that time. The rifle has a percussion lock signed by the maker "JOSEPH COOPER" with full coverage floral engraving with hammer engraved to resemble a fish. Lock is controlled by double set triggers set in an engraved German silver finger loop trigger guard. Rifle has a 40" octagon barrel which measures 3/4" across flats and is .38 caliber and rifled. Barrel is fitted with a patent breech and highly decorated with solid gold band and floral engraving. Rifle has a hooked breech and is attached to a long elliptical tang completely engraved with floral engraving. Octagonal barrel is covered in gold wash and has "Joseph Cooper" and "New York" in boxes with super fine engraving including a European-style boar amongst hunting horn and drums (not known whether European Hogs were in existence yet in the United States at this time). Beautiful flowing floral engraving surrounding a blued gunsmith made pendulum-shaped rear notch sight with prowling fox engraved directly behind sight. Cooper further embellishes this gun with floral engraving on the last 10" of the barrel and around the front sight dovetail and rings the end of the barrel with a floral design. Gun has full curly maple stock with all German silver engraved hardware with 12 fully engraved German silver inlays including flat key barrel escutcheons and a fully engraved floral banner behind a dished cheekpiece. Wrist has checkered carving grip pattern. The Maker has also made a German Silver backplate with full coverage engraving and a fully engraved floral finial German silver patchbox with six piercings and a push-button lid release on the top of the comb. The lid is engraved with full-size alligator in his environment (possibly seen by Meyer in his time in Texas). Comes with hardwood ramrod and gunsmith-made worm attachment, and missing ramming tip on ramrod. We can only speculate how this rifle made its way to Switzerland evidence from consignor provides a good basis for research on the rifle and the man and their connection. CONDITION: Rifle is in as found condition with barrel having 70% of gold wash finish with dark bore with visible rifling. Front sight is missing along with ramming tip on ramrod. Wood has fine as found patina with dark piano style finish with handling marks and dings. Patchbox lid has damage at rear possibly from somebody having trouble and using a knife or other object to open the lid. Overall gun retains most of the original finish with typical discoloration and fading from age. Good mechanics and no visible restoration. DLM
Barrel Length
Drop at Comb
Drop at Heel
FFL Status
Length of Pull
Joseph Cooper
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $15,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $57,600.00
Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000
Number Bids: 25
Auction closed on Thursday, July 15, 2021.
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