Unsigned Pre-Revolution Era Rifle, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania ca 1770
This rifle represents a group of rifles that evolved in the Reading area of Berks County in the pre-Revolution era. This example exhibits the long (51 inches) octagon to round barrel, high "Roman Nose" comb, and thick (nearly 2 inch) butt. Simple relief carved beaver tails appear at the lock mortice, rear ramrod pipe, and a relief carved shield at the barrel tang; all common decorative details of early Reading rifles. This rifle has a French flintlock in original unaltered condition marked "SE" for Saint Etienne, P Girard, and date codes indicating a date of 1758. The frizzen has been resoled and the lock is unquestionably original to the rifle.
One has to marvel that the thin forestock has not been replaced; it was cracked with minor losses. The only wood replacement is a sliver in front of the lock. A small chunk of wood is missing at the toe. Again, amazing condition for a 250 year old rifle. Relief carving behind the cheekpiece is similar to other early Reading rifles. The rifle is pictured in Johnston's book Kentucky Rifles & Pistols 1750-1850 and attributed to Wolfgang Haga. The wooden patchbox lid is possibly original but likely an old replacement; distressing and color make it difficult to determine.
Few rifles of this early period exist, fewer still remain in this state of preservation. Any collection of Kentucky rifles or antique rifles in general would be greatly enhanced by adding this rifle.
The price reflects the rarity, condition, quality, and desirablility of this rifle.
Ex Coll. Jim Johnston, George Carroll, R Mac Spencer