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Signed "Jacob Irwin" in script on a brass plate "1790" on a silver plate. Western Pennsylvania.

This rifle represents the highest level of the gunsmiths art and ability. Jacob Irwin had some association with the early Western Pennsylvania gunsmiths. This rifle has design characteristics shared by James McCamant of Washington County, Pennsylvania. McCamant most likely apprenticed with Irwin and was in Washington, PA in 1807. Jacob Irwin moved to Bossier Parrish in Louisiana and became the gunsmith for the Caddo Indian Agency. His Plantation was "Irwin's Bluff" on the river near Benton, Louisiana. He married Mary Edwards the daughter of Larkin Edwards who was then Caddo Indian interpreter at the Agency.

Irwin was paid $400 for half a years gunsmithing by the Indian Agent Jehiel Brooks in September, 1830. He was also paid for supplying beef to the Indians, protecting public property at the Caddo prairie, and Several other dispersements. Of further interest James McCamant after moving to Wellsburg, Wv shipped rifles to Tarr & Curran in New Orleans; might Irwin facilitated this trade for McCamant? Jacob Irwin died at 95 years of age.

This masterpiece rifle is covered in various forms of decoration. The masterfully engraved and pierced National Road patchbox is the palette for artistry on the rest of the rifle. Silver wire appears in several places on the rifle most notably along the entire fore stock to the chevron muzzle cap. Several silver inlays decorate the rifle including a masterful American eagle engraved on the cheekpiece. Carving in high relief appears in the usual places but behind the cheekpice a most unique stylized pineapple (the symbol of welcome and hospitality) is carved in great detail and creativity.

Few rifles have such volume of decoration in carving, silver wire, silver inlays, and brass work. Very little restoration has been done to the rifle. The 43 inch .45 cal barrel has both brass and silver plates inlaid into the top flat onwhich the signature and date are engraved, There are no wood losses or replacements on the entire fore stock. Minor wood replacements around the lock area were necessary after a poor fitting percussion lock was installed in the 1830's. The lock is unsigned and likely of American manufacture; it is in original (unaltered) flintlock condition.

One is seldom offered the opportunity to own such a magnificent Kentucky rifle, signed and dated, with old sufaces, and singular decoration.

The price reflects the rarity, condition, quality, and desirablility of this rifle.

Ex Coll. Jay Hopkins (photo credit Mark Elliott {white backgrounds})

Sold 6/21

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