Rock Island Auction Company
Back to Catalog
Auction Date: September 11, 2015

Lot 204: Armstrong - Kenucky

Sold for Armstrong - Kenucky
Full Screen
Sold For:
Extraordinary John Armstrong Golden Age Percussion Long Rifle with Raised Relief Carved Stock
Estimated Price: $65,000 - $95,000
Item Views 222 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Armstrong - Kenucky ManufacturerArmstrong ModelKenucky
TypeRifle Gauge44 Percussion Catalog Page70
Barrel41 3/4 Inch Octagon FinishBrown/casehardened Grip
Stockmaple ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis rifle was produced by John Armstrong of Emmitsburg, Maryland. Started in 1808 and was active until 1822 or as late as 1841. His four sons and his apprentice, Nathaniel Rowe, were trained in his style. Armstrong's designs themselves draw from the earlier work of George Schreyer who was based in the town of Hanover just a short distance away. On page 445 of "Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in Its Golden Age", Joe Kindig, Jr. writes: "John Armstrong was a fine gunsmith. He was a very good carver, and he made beautiful inlays and large patch boxes. His engraving is very good." Kindig notes that Armstrong used the same attributes many times over. This creates less variety in his work, but allowed him to really hone his skills on particular details. This example is incredibly similar in ornamentation to the example pictured on page 449 of the above book. Note the eagle engraved on the cheekpiece plate, the patch box designs, heart inlays on the tear drop flats, and the relief carving and checkering on the left side of the butt. The rifle on page 452 is also very similar. Other examples of Armstrong's work, which also utilize similar designs, are on page 72 of "The Kentucky Rifle" by John G. W. Dillin and in "The Emmitsburg School" section of The Kentucky Rifle by Merrill Lindsay. This is only the second rifle built by Armstrong using the percussion system that the writer is aware of and was likely produced late in his career. The barrel has blade and notch sights as is common on American long rifles. The rear section of the barrel has a inlaid brass plate inscribed with "John Armstrong" in script. The lock plate has a script "JA" marking at center. The lock plate and hammer have coordinating engraving patterns. It has a full length maple stock with twelve silver inlays. The stock has a large, ornate patchbox with a spring release button on the bottom of the butt and has rococo style carved accents on ahead of the stock flats, behind the ramrod entry pipe, at the breech, ahead of the patchbox finial, and on the left side of the butt extending from the buttplate to the wrist. There is a section of checkering below the cheekpiece which has a molded edge and the eagle inlay noted above. The design at the breech also has some checkering. The rifle has a long brass forend cap. The buttplate is mostly brass except for a small piece on the heel.

ConditionFine. The rifle has a mottled mixture of faded original brown finish and brown patina along the length of the barrel which also has moderate pitting at the breech. The lock was likely casehardened and now has a mostly gray patina with some oil staining and light pitting. The hammer and nipple are slightly battered. The brass components have primarily a lightly aged patina. The trigger guard has a heavier aged patina. The interior of the patchbox has bright verdigris. The silver components have a darker aged patina, especially on the cheekpiece plate which is blackened. The stock is very good as lightly sanded and reoiled. The checkering near the breech and part of the carving is smoothed, there is some minor flash damage near the bolster, and otherwise only limited slight dings and light scratches. The lock and set triggers function fine. This is a beautiful rifle built by one of the classic early American rifle makers. It has all the hallmarks of a Golden Age rifle: fine lines, an ornate patch box, carving, engraving, and silver inlays.
Click here to see keyboard shortcuts.
F Enters/exits full screen view for items
Esc Exits full screen view for items
Moves to previous lot, or moves to previous image if full screen view is enabled
Moves to next lot, or moves to next image if full screen view is enabled
Fully zooms the image when full screen view is enabled
Fits the entire image to the screen when full screen view is enabled


Buyer’s Premium: 17.5%

Cash Payment Discount: 2.5%

Participation Requirements: Valid Credit Card required for bidding approval. You will have the option to pay with these payment options: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Check, Money Order, Wire Transfer, and Cash.

Sales Tax: It varies each auction typically around 94% of auction items are not subject to sales tax. Read more here on sales tax.

We will contact you after the auction to arrange payment and shipping.


Premiere Auction Terms

Terms and conditions regarding Premiere Auctions. Revised : 08/29/2014


SHIPPING CHARGES. All shipping charges must be paid by the successful bidder prior to delivery of the firearm. If Rock Island Auction (RIAC) is asked to ship the purchased lots, there will be a separate charge for such shipping. Shipping charges will be based upon what it costs RIAC to ship the purchased lots to the purchaser. All items must have shipping insurance; this insurance is mandatory. RIAC will not charge any labor charges for shipping. RIAC is not liable for any acts of omissions in packaging or shipping. Purchased lots handled by outside carriers or packers, including those RIAC may have recommended, may carry their own insurance and any claims for losses or damages should be addressed directly to the outside carriers or packers. RIAC will arrange for packing and shipping at RIAC’s earliest possible convenience. RIAC will attempt to ship as soon as possible; however, due to RIAC’s high volume of absentee bids, shipping can take up to two weeks after full payment is received. In the case of crating or any exceptional packaging, the purchaser will be charged RIAC’s cost from outside agents. Purchaser pays shipping, packing materials, and insurance charges. The shipping of any purchased items outside of the United States is hereby classified as “foreign export”. All foreign export is the sole responsibility of the purchaser.