Signed P Heckert, Philip Heckert, York, Pennsylvania ca 1785
This is a rare example of a well carved early rifle with superb architecture signed in script "P Heckert". Heckert was an early gunsmith and barrel maker in York. His boring mill burned just outside York in 1800; the event was featured in the Lewis Miller drawing book.
Maybe the most desirable artistic feature of a Kentucky rifle is its architecture. All other decorative details only compliment great architecture. If a rifle has nice carving, patchbox, and inlays but has poor or uninteresting architecture its appeal can only be mediocre. This rifle has great architecture from the thin wrist graduating to a generous butt stock with a graceful comb and perfectly placed patchbox. Beautifully designed and executed relief carving are present with wonderful detail behind and under the cheekpiece. Carving in other areas are worn from use but show wonderful form. The pierced brass patchbox is beautifully designed and nicely engraved with scrolls, flowers, and leafage in the American Rococo.
The rifle appears in beautiful condition; it has had some high quality restoration by the renouned craftsman Louie Parker. The lock is a wonderful example of the "handmade" type imported from Germany; from one of their rural cottage industries. This one is initialed inside the lockplate. The restored 45 inch .50 cal full octagon barrel is signed in script. Surfaces have a pleasing patina. Great rifles made just after the Revolution command high prices especially if they have pleasing architecture, and decorative details. Restoration can make these rarities more affordable; great restoration makes them both affordable and desireable.
Available at $8,950
Signed J Roop, Jacob Roop, Halifax, Dauphin County, PA ca 1820
Jacob Roop probably learned his trade in York County. He worked in Dauphin County around Harrisburg in the early 1800’s. By mid 1820’s he relocated to Roopsburg, Benner Township, Centre County. After 1840 he was in Indianna. This example of his work was made in Dauphin County. Jacob was recognized by the Agricultural Society of Centre County in 1826 for his rifle making ability.
Though not highly decorated, this rifle exhibits fine workmanship, excellent architecture, undisturbed finish, and pristine originality. The brass patchbox is nicely designed and engraved and is positioned perfectly on the butt stock. All metal mounts are original and in excellent condition. Even the ramrod appears to be original with a worm still attached.
The barrel is signed “J Roop” in block letters and is the original length; 43.5 inches. Original to the rifle, the lock could have been made by Roop and was converted to percussion during the 1830's. The curly maple is superb with consistant grain throughout and with its original patina.
Available at $3,250
Unsigned Samuel Gobrecht, Heidelberg Township, Yotk County, Pa ca 1810
A very recognizable rifle by Samuel Gobrecht. Gobrecht predominately used this style patchbox with some variation throughout the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Another common detail is a filed groove on the front and rear extension of the trigger guard. This example is in near pristine condition with no wood or metal replacements. The .45 cal rifled barrel is 40.5 inchs, it's original length, and retains much charcoal blueing. The flintlock is unaltered. Though plane this rifle remains in fine original condition; few other Kentucky rifles of this period have survived like this one.
Available at $3,350.00
Unsigned Peter Dunmeyer or Dormayer, Somerset County, PA ca 1835
A very recognizable rifle by Peter Dunmeyer who worked in Somerset County. This example has high grade beautiful curly maple with typical incised carving, a nicely pierced and engraved patchbox, and no restoration or alterations. The orignial length barrel is 38 inches long, almost .50 cal, and rifled. The surface is pleasing without a heavy build up of patina.
Available at $3,450.00
Signed "H GIBBS LANCASTER" Lancaster, PA ca 1835
A classic late Lancater rifle by Henry Gibbs. The 39.5 inch .45 cal barrel is signed in a two line stamp so often used by Gibbs. An excellent grade of curly maple was used and has never been harshly cleaned or sanded. The original percussion lock is stamped "Drepperd Lancaster". Minor restoration includes a replaced fore end cap, some wood along the fore end, and a repaird crack under the lock. A Nicely engraved patchbox, beautiful curly maple, checkered wrist, and classic Lancaster architecture and details, makes this rifle an easy and affordable choice for your collection.
Available at $2,950.00
SOLD SOLD Signed "J Mewhirter" John Mewhirter Sr., Chambersburg/Shippensburg, PA. ca 1815
Here is an early signed John Mewhirter Sr. rifle with fine relief carving. An extreme drop to the butt stock architecture is evident and was custom made to fit one of Mewhirter's clients. Mewhirter inlaid a thumb plate and cheekpiece star in brass rather than silver probably to lower cost.
The 42 inch .50 cal barrel is signed J Mewhiter in script and is the original length. The flintlock is original to the rifle and has been expertly reconverted. Original wood extends to the muzzle cap but there are a few strips restored. The trigger, for some reason, appears to be replaced. Relief carved rifles by the elder John Mewhirter are rare as most are incise carved. Mewhirter owned property in Williamsport Maryland: its possible this rifle was made there as it carries a typical Hagerstown Patchbox.
Signed EPW Evan P Ward, Capon Bridge, Hampshire County, WV ca 1850
Here is a nice Hampshire County rifle with an engraved acorn finial patchbox, engraved capbox, and maple stock. Small strip of wood replaced near fore end cap. The rifled barrel is 40 inches long and about .45 cal. Nice condition with wonderful old surfaces.
Available at $1950
ON HOLD Unsigned Maryland Rifle, Marker Family, Hawken Family, or John Mewhirter Sr. ca 1815
This is one of the great Maryland rifles displaying excellent engraving, intricate incised and relief carving, and masterful design. The patchbox is an exemplary work of art in design and execution as is the carving behind the cheekpiece. Eagle inlays are common on Maryland rifles but this example is far above average.
Details that support a Maryland attribution are the low comb architecture, narrow trigger guard with tight bow, halfmoon escutcheons, fluted forestock molding, scalloped molding in front of lock mortice, fluted lower butt molding, eagle cheekpiece inlay, and the patchbox lid release hidden under upper plate of patchbox near butt plate. The lack of molding on the forward extension of the butt plate is unusual and seen on rifles by the Marker family. The S scroll lock bolt plate is masterful but foreign to Maryland.
The rifle appears in beautiful condition; it has had some high quality restoration. The lock is possibly original to the rifle but is reconverted back to flintlock. The surface has a pleasing patina and the stock is of above average curly maple. The 42 1/2 inch barrel is about .50 cal.