Author Topic: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction  (Read 28757 times)

Offline gibster

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Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« on: April 08, 2012, 06:16:53 AM »
Thought some of you might be interested in seeing this.  Will be interested in seeing what the final hammer price will be.  Here is the link:
http://www.cowanauctions.com/auctions/item.aspx?ItemId=107047

You may have to cut and paste in your browser to view.

The other DWS

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 03:59:50 PM »
Wow! What is about the most extensive auction description I have seen.

Is the data still considered accurate by contemporary authorities?

Has anyne ever determined the "why" of making a brass barreled "rifle"?

Offline Tony Clark

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 04:20:13 PM »
It's always interesting to see what these "landmark" collector pieces will sell for at the rare times they are being traded hands. I'm really curious as to if this piece will reach the estimates Cowan's has set. This is one of the most important early American firearms that exists in my opinion.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 04:46:48 PM by Tony Clark »

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 04:24:16 PM »
Speculations about its origin aside, I wonder why the BBR auction description did not mention the pre-1771 date scratched on the so-called "Musician Rifle?"  1756 / NJ (the "NJ" is below the date but it is not showing up in this particular photo)


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« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 12:50:13 AM by Eric Kettenburg »
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Offline Tony Clark

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2012, 04:46:20 PM »
Speculations about its origin aside, I wonder why the BBR auction description did not mention the pre-1771 date scratched on the so-called "Musician Rifle?"  1756 / NJ (the "NJ" is below the date but it is not showing up in this particular photo)




Eric, Cowans's didn't mention the " Musician rifle" most likely because they are not in the business of educating people on the intricate specifics of early American firearms, they are just attempting to sell a given piece and provide as much information as they can gather. Which you know as well as I do the information they provide may not be accurate or definitive regarding anything.
But personally I would love to hear your opinions on the origin of this piece if you have one. Happy Easter : )

Offline James Rogers

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2012, 04:54:03 PM »
Speculations about its origin aside, I wonder why the BBR auction description did not mention the pre-1771 date scratched on the so-called "Musician Rifle?"  1756 / NJ (the "NJ" is below the date but it is not showing up in this particular photo)




Eric, Cowans's didn't mention the " Musician rifle" most likely because they are not in the business of educating people on the intricate specifics of early American firearms, they are just attempting to sell a given piece and provide as much information as they can gather. Which you know as well as I do the information they provide may not be accurate or definitive regarding anything.
But personally I would love to hear your opinions on the origin of this piece if you have one. Happy Easter : )

Do you think someone at Cowan's wrote or compiled that detailed information??

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2012, 05:09:14 PM »
My thought would be that provenance of this rifle has been passed from owner to owner and that Wallace Gusler supplied the information to Cowan's, but I could be wrong.  I don't see an auction house doing that deep of research and certainly if I owned a piece of history, I would maintain it's provenance.  If you read the entire auction description which is an essay on longrifle collecting in itself, at the
end it states the rifle comes with a personally signed Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle signed by Kindig stating "Lot comes with a copy of "Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age by Joe Kindig. The book is inscribed To Wallace Gusler, who I believe knows more about early Virginia rifles and their makers than anyone else in the world. Joe Kindig"



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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2012, 05:10:19 PM »
What I'm indicating in my previous vague comment:  I simply wonder why the individual or individuals who provided the majority of information for the auction text did not mention the 1756 date upon the Musician Rifle?  One scratched date is as good as another scratched date.  Perhaps it was simply overlooked.  On the other hand, calling something the "earliest" in any categorical sense does have a very nice ring to it.

The Musician Rifle has been in the same family for quite some time, as I understand it.  Very near to one of the PA Moravian enclaves.  There is no reason - that I can currently determine - for someone to have scratched 1756 NJ on the box, other than that very likely the owner was involved in the blockhouse construction and stationing of men in upper Jersey ca. 1755-1777.  There was intense activity there and across the river into Northampton County.  Presently, I would tend to take the date at face value.  There certainly is nothing about the rifle which precludes it from being this early.
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Offline tallbear

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2012, 05:14:56 PM »
After reading the description my gut feeling is that it was written by the rifles' current owner not the auction house  ;) ;)

Mitch

Offline Fullstock longrifle

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2012, 05:18:18 PM »
My thought would be that provenance of this rifle has been passed from owner to owner and that Wallace Gusler supplied the information to Cowan's, but I could be wrong.  I don't see an auction house doing that deep of research and certainly if I owned a piece of history, I would maintain it's provenance.  If you read the entire auction description which is an essay on longrifle collecting in itself, at the
end it states the rifle comes with a personally signed Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle signed by Kindig stating "Lot comes with a copy of "Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age by Joe Kindig. The book is inscribed To Wallace Gusler, who I believe knows more about early Virginia rifles and their makers than anyone else in the world. Joe Kindig"






I would bet the farm that Wallace wrote the description.

Frank

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2012, 05:33:42 PM »
I just want to take a moment to interject that I hope this doesn't turn into a 'free for all Wallace bash.'  I too assume he supplied most of the information for the description if he didn't draft it himself.  Hence, my wondering aloud why the Musician Rifle date was not noted.  The lock on that rifle is signed, *probably* a german lockmaker but possibly some more information has been found in regard to the name which invalidates the 1756 date.  Just wondering aloud.  Perchance Gary may join in at some point?
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline tallbear

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2012, 05:49:10 PM »

My post was in no way meant to "bash Wallace".I have studied with him,greatly respect him  and have spent some time disscusing this rifle and just meant that the discription on the auction site is pretty close to how Wallace would decribe the rifle.

That being said your question is a valid one that I too would learn much from such a disscusion.

Mitch

Offline jdm

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2012, 05:59:07 PM »
The firearms expert Cowans has is not a Kentucky rifle guy. I believe someone else wrote it.  JIM
JIM

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2012, 05:59:59 PM »
Oh, I don't think anyone is bashing him.  However, he definitely does put forth some extremely thought-provoking and controversial ideas, and I know that in the past, when he used to post here at times as well as when certain of his attributions were being discussed, things occasionally became somewhat heated.  I'm positive that every single person here respects him immensely.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 06:01:27 PM by Eric Kettenburg »
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Offline tallbear

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2012, 06:15:56 PM »
I suspect one possibility is the omission of the Musician rifle in the description is meant to maximize the hammer price of the Brass Barrel Rifle which after all is the purpose of the auction.Auction descriptions always put the item most favorable light.

Offline Eric Laird

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2012, 08:35:45 PM »
I just hope that whoever the new owner will be, they'll be as forthcoming and willing to share as Wallace Gusler has been. I know that any show that I have attended where he was an exhibitor, he had this rifle and others that he was willing to let a student handle, examine in detail, and discuss. While he has some controversial thoughts at times, controversy in the quest for knowledge is not a bad thing - it keeps us searching, researching and questioning what we "know".
Eric
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Offline spgordon

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2012, 10:25:11 PM »
Sam Dyke's The Pennsylvania Rifle (1974) pictures a rifle by "J. Dubbs" that is "dated 1761 on the thumb-piece" (p. 12). This looks to be the same rifle as Shumway's #59 in RCA (see earlier thread: http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=20587.0). But Shumway doesn't mention the 1761 date, nor do his pictures show it (from what I can tell).

What is the current thinking about this rifle?
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 11:37:58 PM by spgordon »
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2012, 12:53:27 AM »
Oh $#@*.  I'm not very adept at the photo linking process here.  It would appear that when I posted that one specific photo, the link takes you to a public album with a pile of photos which was supposed to be private.  They weren't supposed to be made public but I guess the damage is done now since it appears they've been viewed quite a bit.  Oh well.  Someone sure is going to get really *#)*^~ off at me.  Sorry!   :-X
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2012, 01:12:52 AM »
Hey Professor (just don't call me Gilligan) - the general consensus is that the date on that is a fake, in fact the whole thumb piece may have been added.  It was unfortunately VERY popular ca. 1920s - 1960s to add thumbpieces with fake dates and/or initials to these relics.  I've remember working on one that had a thumbpiece made from a late 19th century silver coin - could still see remnants of the date on the underside, despite the fact that the "thumbpiece" was engraved with some ridiculous 1720s date.   
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline tallbear

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2012, 01:29:48 AM »
Eric
I hope you don't get in too much trouble.It was the best Easter present i've gotten in a long time.

All the best!!!
Mitch

Offline spgordon

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2012, 01:50:57 AM »
Thanks (and no need for the Professor!). When you come late (as I am) to these things, you feel all the time that there's a consensus about particular objects or topics that has been built up over years of conversations but that doesn't appear anywhere in print--and that what is in print are ideas that are a generation old and largely discarded...
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2012, 02:52:02 AM »
Very accurate assessment!  At the same time, however, it's good to try to maintain an open mind because some of the "old wisdom" does occasionally circle back and bite you once dismissed.  Some of those old collectors did indeed know what they were looking at and were quite involved in research but it was simply more difficult pre-internet so there seems to have been more speculation involved; speculation never goes out of fashion, though!
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline Tom Currie

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2012, 03:42:03 AM »
EK, We won't tell anyone

Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2012, 05:24:34 AM »
The date engraved deeply on the inside of the patch box lid of the BBR is very different in character from an obviously secondary scratched on date on the exterior of the "Musician Rifle." 
Scratched dates may represent the date of manufactor of an object (rifle, powderhorn, or whatever) but in many cases they have proven to be later additions.
That statement in no way lessons the importance of the "Musician Rifle" but I believe current scholarship would date it a bit later than 1756.
Gary
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Brass Barreled Rifle coming up at auction
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2012, 05:44:17 AM »
"That statement in no way lessons the importance of the "Musician Rifle" but I believe current scholarship would date it a bit later than 1756."

Care to elaborate? 
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