Unsigned Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania Pre-Revolution era Possibly Virginia
The importance of this rifle as one of the few existing examples made in the 1760's makes this a very desireable object of Americana. The original or period sliding wooden patchbox lid further lends to the rarity of this piece. Many American made rifles of this period have European mounts suggesting the gunsmith was only involved in restocking. This example has mounts cast by the gunsmith, the barrel forged and finished by the gunsmith, and the entire rifle (with the exception of the lock) made by the gunsmith. Attribution to Reading is based on George Shumway's assessment in Vol. 1 of his book on Colonial Rifles in America.
However, many details differ from Reading area rifles. The architecture, finial on the side plate, low grip rail of the trigger guard, acanthus finials on the trigger guard, and the intaglio treatment of the beaver tails suggest southern manufacture. For instance, during the pre Revolution era there were several active gunsmiths in Winchester Virginia that could have made this rifle. The octagon to round now smoothbore barrel is 42.5 inches with a flared muzzle. The lock is French or English and appears to be orignal to the rifle. Of course restoration is present; it is old work and could be improved. A piece of wood in front of the lock has been restored. This is a rare opportunity to own a pre-revolution era rifle with it's original sliding wood patchbox lid.
Available at $27,500
Possibly Peter Neihart, Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, PA ca 1790
Most details of this fine and extremely long rifle point to Lehigh County however, attribution to Neihart is tenuous. The original length octagon to round smoothbore barrel is 49 inches long with only a thin small sliver of wood missing along the forestock. The relief carving is excellent in design and execution and the wood surfaces are untouched. A large piece of wood is replaced around the lock. All mounts are original to the rifle.
available at $29,800
Unsigned John Young jr, Possibly Samuel States, Easton, PA ca 1810
There were several members of the Young family who were gunsmiths in the and around Easton from the Revolution to the percussion period. Both father and son John and John Jr. died in 1813 as well as John's wife (John Jr's mother). Samuel States was associated with the Young family; a likely apprentice. This rifle is a long slender rifle in very good condition with minor restoration. The 44 inch .50 cal smoothbore barrel is its original length. The original sideplate has been extensivley repaired and comes with the rifle. The sideplate pictured is an accurate replacement. Engraving is sparse but includes 2 eagles on the decorative plate adjacent to the butt plate. A pleasing architecture, original sufaces, large pierced patchbox, and decorative brass work makes this a nice rifle for the collector.
available at $5,800
Signed "N Beyer" Nicholas Beyer, Lebanon, Lancaster Co, Pennsylvania ca 1800
Very little information is available for such a prolific and accomplished rifle maker. Beyer is listed in Lebanon Township, Lancaster County as a gunsmith in the years 1807 & 1810. He most certainly learned his trade from John Phillip Beck. This example has exceedingly nice curly maple with slight losses along the fore end. The octagon to round smoothbore barrel is 45 & 1/2 inches long and has never been shortened. The flintlock may be original to the rifle. The stock was broken through the wrist and repaired with a metal wrap which was commonly done and usually by a gunsmith. Relief carving is well executed behind and in front of the cheek piece and behind the barrel tang. The surface is original with little build up of patina.
Available at $17,500
Unsigned Henry Koons, Double Pipe Creek, Frederick County, MD ca 1810
Very little information is available for Henry Koons. Apparently he apprenticed with George Schroyer in Hanover, PA. Only a couple of details Koons frequently used differentiate this fowler from Schroyers work. The side plate is used almost exclucivley by Koons as well as the carving design behind the barrel tang. The octagon to round smoothbore barrel is 46 & 1/2 inches long and has never been shortened. The flintlock is original to the rifle. The stock has no losses or repairs and retains all its original finish and patina. Relief carving appears behind the barrel tang, around the rear ramrod pipe, and at the wrist.
available at $5,800
Unsigned Gentleman's Target Rifle, Tennessee or Mississippi, ca 1850
This iron mounted target rifle has superior construction, excellent condition, and is singular in design and execution of its decoration. Every element is hand made, hand decorated, with no signature. Decorative details include a series of punched circles forming borders and circular silver inserts amoungst the punchwork borders. I believe this gunsmith trained under one of the masters of The Cumberland, the area of central Tennessee and southern Kentucky. He probably moved west to Nashville and later Memphis or south to Natchez. According to family history the rifle was purchased in Memphis in the 1940's. Whatever this man's history he was a master gunsmith. The 38 & 1/2 inch .42 cal rifled barrel has a cast German silver patent breech with a decorative adjustable rear sight.
A peep sight with a hooded front sight was added later. The cheekpiece inlay is unusual as is the decorative toeplate. Ther triggerguard is a masterpiece of ironwork including several circular inlays of silver amoungst his punchwork boder decoration. Only the most advanced blacksmith could fabricate this trigger guard ending in such a masterful volute. The collector who steps up to this rifle will appreciate and enjoy it; it is superb. email me for more pictures.
Available at $4,750.00 price reduction for a short time to $3250.00
Signed "J Roop" Jacob Roop, Halifax, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania ca 1815
Jacob Roop's work is always appealing and well done. He probably learned his trade in York from a really great master; possibly Samuel Grove. His signature during this period appears as small stamped block letters on the barrel. He added many silver inlays on this rifle as well as a silver oval cheek piece inlay and silver thumb plate. The 41 & 1/2 inch rifled barrel is the original length. Curly maple of medium quality was used and there is no damage or replacements. Of particular interest; the lock is marked "Sweitzer" (a well know lock maker of the period), is original to the rifle, and in orignal flintlock condition (never converted to percussion). The patchbox is masterfully engraved as is the toe plate. The rifle is in as perfect condition as could be expected and far exceeds the condition of most; a safe investment.
Available at $6950.00