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Auction Date: December 3, 2010

Lot 1241: Kentucky - Flintlock

Sold for Kentucky - Flintlock
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Rare and Exceptional "Transitional" Relief Carved Kentucky Rifle with Kindig Authenticity Letter
Estimated Price: $20,000 - $40,000
Item Views 193 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Kentucky - Flintlock ManufacturerKentucky ModelFlintlock
TypeShotgun Gauge50 Flint Catalog Page254
Barrel42 In FinishBrown Grip
Stockwood ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is a Revolutionary War era Transitional style Kentucky Rifle that appears to be the work of Wolfgang Haga. Wolfgang Haga was a gunsmith in Reading, Pennsylvania between 1767 and 1796. Several of Haga's rifles are illustrated on pages 200-202 of Joe Kindig Jr.'s book "THOUGHTS ON THE KENTUCKY RIFLE IN IT'S GOLDEN AGE". Joe Kindig was the leading authority on the Kentucky Rifle. This rifle was apparently sold by Kindig and is complete with a copy of a handwritten letter dated December 9, 1955. The letter states: "This rifle is a fine Revolutionary (he mistakenly omitted "war era") and was made in Reading, Pa. The raised carving is the earliest type of decoration that was used on these guns. The thick stock, flat buttplate, large rifled bore, relatively plain patch box are all early details. We rarely find one as early as this in as good condition.". The rifle has a .50 caliber, 42 1/4-inch octagon barrel with dove-tailed brass front sight blade and dove-tail mounted fixed rear sight. The barrel has a second rear sight dove-tail near the lock. The pin-fastened, curly maple, stock has a prominent "tiger stripe" and is decorated with well-executed relief and incised carving. The stock has a thick profile with the relatively flat buttplate found on Transitional rifles. The stock comb has the distinctive "Roman Nose" profile found on Golden Age rifles. The stock has a shallow cheekpiece and the left side of the butt is decorated with both relief and incised carved C-scrolls. The barrel tang, edges of the lock plate, side plate and rear ramrod pipe have relief carved decorations. Relief, shell-shaped, motifs surround the tang and the lower ramrod pipe. The forend cap, ramrod pipes, wide-profile trigger guard, side plate, toe plate, butt plate and patch box are brass. The relatively plain brass patch box with hinged lid is a transition between the sliding wooden patch boxes of pre-Revolutionary War rifles and the elaborate pierced and engraved patch boxes found on Golden Age rifles. A well-shaped brass reinforcement plate is screwed to the underside of the stock. The plate extends from the front trigger guard finial to the end of the lock plate. The lock plate has beveled edges with a pronounced point at the end, goose-neck cock with beveled edges, detachable, fenced, iron pan and frizzen with pronounced curl at the toe. This rifle is very similar to the rifle identified as the work of Wolfgang Haga illustrated on page 200 of "THOUGHTS ON THE KENTUCKY RIFLE". The patch box, side plate and toe plate are nearly identical to pieces identified by Kindig as Haga's work. The relief and incised carving surrounding the cheekpiece are similar in style to the Haga rifle. The barrel is not signed and the lock has no visible markings.

ConditionVery good. The barrel and lock have a dark, untouched patina. There is moderate pitting on the portions of the barrel adjacent to the flash hole and on the hammer and upper portion of the lock. The stock has a shallow, three-inch chip and repaired, hair-line crack just above the upper ramrod pipe and a second, shallower, chip that extends from the frizzen to the edge of the lock plate. The brass reinforcing plate surrounding the trigger guard is a period repair to a crack that apparently runs from the lock to the side plate. The stock shows moderate handling wear and the edges of the relief carving on the stock wrist are slightly rounded. The brass furniture has a very attractive, untouched patina. This is a rare and exceptional example of a Transitional Kentucky Rifle that was almost certainly made by Reading, Pennsylvania, gunsmith Wolfgang Haga in the early 1780s with documentation from one of the acknowledged authorities of the Kentucky Rifle.
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