Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1101: Kentucky Rifle Association Award Winning Running Deer Rifle

Auction Date: May 15, 2021

Documented Kentucky Rifle Association Award Winning "Running Deer" Flintlock American Long Rifle with Raised Relief Carving

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $75,000 - $150,000

Documented Kentucky Rifle Association Award Winning "Running Deer" Flintlock American Long Rifle with Raised Relief Carving

Manufacturer: Unknown
Model: Flintlock Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 52
Barrel: 44 1/4 inch octagon
Finish: brown
Stock: maple
Item Views: 3295
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 73
Class: Antique

The "Running Deer Rifle" is documented in the included Vol. 3, No. 1 issue of "American Tradition: The Journal of the Contemporary Longrifle Association" from January 2012 on page 9 where it is noted as probably dating to 1760-1770s and also noted as somewhat disputed in terms of origin with some saying it likely came from Pennsylvania while other say it had southern origins. The deer design is noted as closely resembling "folk art decoration on the door of an important Shenandoah Valley hanging cupboard by Johannes Spilter." It won the Kentucky Rifle Association's best of show award in June 2006. The blue ribbon, silver "bottle tag," plaque, and documentation from the Kentucky Rifle Association are all included. The consignor has attributed the rifle to Augusta County, Virginia, circa 1760-1770. It remains in virtually "untouched attic-found" condition. The most distinctive feature is the brass plate and wire inlaid running deer on the left side of the butt that gives this rifle its moniker. The stock also has nice molding along the ramrod channel terminating in small incised scrolls, nicely shaped teardrop flats, raised relief floral carving at the barrel tang, a brass wrist escutcheon, incised scroll carving at the front of the comb, raised relief floral carving on the left ahead of and behind the cheekpiece which has a fluted edge and vent pick staples below, and additional floral pattern brass inlays on the top of the comb. The brass furniture also has some nice designs, including a heart and crescent moon piercing on the patch box finial and a spire shaped toe plate. The swamped barrel has traditional blade and notch sights and some punched designs at the breech end. The brass forend cap is fitted via a screw into the bottom of the barrel.

Rating Definition:

Very good "out of the attic" condition with dark brown patina and moderate oxidation on the barrel and lock, deep aged patina on the brass furniture, distinct carving and designs, some absent barrel pins, a few cracks in the nicely figured stock in the forend and butt, and moderate overall wear such as scrapes and dings on the metal and wood. Mechanically fine. It is very easy to see why this rifle won the best of show award at the Kentucky Rifle Association's 2006 show. It is a very distinctive rifle with a fascinating folk art design. This is an exceptional example of why the American long rifle is considered by many to be as much an art form as it is an iconic early American frontier firearm.

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