KENTUCKY RIFLES AT AFFORDABLE PRICESThe rifles on this page are affordably priced for beginning collectors, decorators, material culture historians, or interested individuals seeking a representative example. The rifles may be plain, decorative but poorly or highly restored, or in need of restoration. They will be original Kentucky rifles (not reproductions) with some investment potential.
For beginning collectors, these rifles represent an entry level item at a modest investment. For many the first step in generating interest is owning and handling an object rather than viewing images. These rifles are perfect for those individuals. Email me for additional photos of each rifle. Feel free to make serious offers!
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
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.
ON HOLD TILL 3-1-2020
SOLD Upper Susquehana Flintlock Rifle. Possibly Samuel Baum, Pennsylvania ca 1830
A very decorative rifle with several silver inlays, brass wear plate, brass vent pick holder, beautiful openwork patch box, excellent quality curly maple, original finish, no wood replacements or restoration. 42 inch rifled .45 cal barrel. 3 inlays have been repaired, pins replaced in a few inlays, and a few inlays may be restored.