This beautiful example of the iconic American long rifle is pictured and discussed on pages 238-241 of George Shumway's classic "Rifles of Colonial America Volume 1." It is also on the cover and page 1 of "Kentucky Rifles & Pistols, 1750-1850" by the Golden Age Arms Company and James R. Johnston. Shumway notes: "A lot is known about Neihart from the research of Ronald G. Gabel. The name is variously spelled in the old records. . . Peter's father settled along the Lehigh River in North Whitehall Twp. in 1738 [he and two brothers arrived at the port of Philadelphia on September 26, 1737, on the St. Andrew Galley] and Peter was born in 1743. With whom he apprenticed is not known, but it is probable that he at least was influenced by the work of Andreas Albrecht at Christian Spring nearby. . . This rifle serves as a transition piece linking the Germanic style of rifle made at Christian Spring with the classic curved-butt Lehigh Valley rifles of the Federal Period and beyond. . . The two-piece engraved brass patch-box on this rifle, with the lid bearing the date 1787, has a finial of fleur-de-lis pattern. This is the earliest dated use of this pattern that we can be certain of. . ." It is also pictured in the "Bethlehem School" section of "The Kentucky Rifle" by Merrill Lindsay alongside two Herman Rupp rifles with very similar patch boxes and stock ornamentation. The barrel has a smooth bore, brass blade front sight, notch rear sight, and deeply cut "~PETER NEIHART~" marking in Roman style lettering on the top flat. The full length curly maple stock has a swirl pattern brass forend cap, an engraved and initialed silver thumb piece, wavy brass wire inlays and stud stock ornamentation, carved accents including a floral scroll pattern on the left rear, a cheekpiece with engraved silver star of Bethlehem inlay and molded edge, and an ornate engraved patch box. Several of the components also display engraving accents. The rifle has a wooden ramrod and a silver and gold award plaque marked "Kentucky Rifle Assn./1969/Best of Show" on the front and "S. KIRK & SON/STERLING" on the back. It also has "PETER NEIHART" and "rifle" labels.
Fine. The brass and silver components have an even attractive aged patina throughout, and the lock, trigger, and barrel have a mixture of faded brown finish and an untouched dark brown patina with patches varnish, oxidation, and moderate pitting. The latter is concentrated primarily near the breech. The stock is very good and has beautiful tight stripe figure along with areas of dark patina. There is period repaired (screw) piece on bottom toe at buttplate juncture, a break on the forend at one of the pins, some overall minor dings and light scratches, and several small chips. The lock functions fine, and the marking and engraving designs are distinct.
This rifle is a close miniature copy to gun A. The only noticeable difference is that it is marked "ALAN GUTCHESS" on the barrel instead of "PETER NEIHART". It even has a properly functioning spring patch box door and articulating lock. The barrel is 13 inches long, and the overall length is 17 1/2 inches.
Very fine. It retains 90% plus of the original brown finish and has some slight oxidation on the lock and rub wear on the patch box. The lock currently does not hold half or full cock. The stock is also very fine with only a few slight scratches.
There are currently no customer product questions on this lot