Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 126: Peter Resor Flintlock American Long Rifle, Hunting Pouch & Horns

Auction Date: May 14, 2021

Outstanding Documented, Kentucky Rifle Association 2000 Best of Show Award Winning, and Exceptional Revolutionary War Era Peter Resor Signed, Engraved, and Relief Carved Lancaster Flintlock American Long Rifle with Hunting Pouch, Powder Horns, and Accessories

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $90,000 - $140,000

Outstanding Documented, Kentucky Rifle Association 2000 Best of Show Award Winning, and Exceptional Revolutionary War Era Peter Resor Signed, Engraved, and Relief Carved Lancaster Flintlock American Long Rifle with Hunting Pouch, Powder Horns, and Accessories

Manufacturer: American
Model: Flintlock
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 42
Barrel: 46 inch octagon
Finish: bright
Stock: maple
Item Views: 4658
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 130
Class: Antique

In an included letter from Norm Flayderman in 1999, he starts with "Congratulations on acquiring my finest Kentucky! You got it with a piece of my heart." Flayderman indicates he acquired the rifle in 1973 from his friend John J. Malloy who had recently purchased the rifle from a dealer who himself had only recently purchased it out of the estate of a Scottish castle. This certainly makes you wonder how this Revolutionary War era rifle ended up in Scotland to begin with. Could it have been captured or purchased by a Scot that served in the Revolution? Flayderman notes that the rifle is discussed in the March 1998 issue of Muzzle Blasts in an article by George Shumway and that the rifle is pictured pg. 39 of "Steel Canvas" by R.L. Wilson (copies of the images from this book are included). It is also in the very similar book "The History and Art of the American Gun" by Wilson on pg. 39. In the article "Longrifles of Note: A 1770s Peter Resor Rifle" from Muzzle Blasts (copies included), Shumway calls the rifle: "a dream come true for anyone who studies and appreciates rifles of the Revolutionary War and pre-Revolutionary years" and notes that the rifle is attributed it to the 1770s, retains the original flintlock, is in very high condition, and is "beautifully decorated with relief carving and has attractive brass patchbox. Best of all, however, from the student's point of view, the barrel is clearly signed in script with the maker's name, 'Peter Resor.'" The rifle is also pictured in "Gunsmiths of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania" by Whisker (copies of the pages included). The Kentucky Rifle Association 2000 Best of Show award plaque and a display plaque marked "Maker: Peter Resor/Year Awarded 'Best of Show'/2000" are included as are additional documents providing relevant information about Peter Resor. The rifle is sometimes called by collectors the "ghost rifle" based on the patchbox engraving. The early details of Peter Resor's life are not entirely clear. Some sources say he was born on February 13, 1750, while others list 1740 or no date at all. Regardless of those details, he was the son of Mathias Roeser who immigrated in 1736 and was a gunmaker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Peter Resor was active as a gunmaker in Lancaster c. 1775-1790 (possibly earlier) and later lived and worked in Washington County, Maryland. He died in 1823. The rifle has seven-groove rifling, a series of dots around the muzzle, low blade and notch sights, "Peter Resor" signed in script on top between the rear sight and breech, scroll and floral engraving on the lock, adjustable double set triggers, and brass furniture including the forend cap, four brass ramrod pipes, trigger guard, side plate, buttplate, patch box, and toe plate. The patch box has a domed lid, and is engraved with wavy lines, simplified scrolls, and design some see as resembling a ghost. The patch box release is on the heel of the buttplate. The full-length maple stock has fine molding along the forend terminating in squiggly lines at the rear barrel key, tear drop flats, an raised relief carved fleur-de-lis type pattern at the barrel tang, recessed scroll designs at the rear of the wrist and front of the butt, molding along the bottom of the butt, staples for a vent pick under the cheek rest, and a mix of incised and relief carved scroll patterns on the left side of the butt. Included with the rifle is a leather hunting pouch and horn set by contemporary artist Gary Birch of Ohio. The pouch measures about 7 inches wide and tall with two compartments, powder horn and priming horn, a horn measure, an attached sheath with a knife with leather wrapped handle, a vent pick fitted to the strap, and a wooden loading block inside with three patched lead balls measuring approximately .40 caliber.

Rating Definition:

Exceptionally fine. This rifle was described by noted long rifle expert George Shumway as "in almost pristine condition, just the way it was made, and retains the original flint lock." The barrel and lock have a mottled mix of silver-gray and brown patina and exhibit a sharp signature, distinct engraving, and very minor oxidation/pitting. The front lock screw is "chewed," but the other screws are generally very good. The brass has smooth aged patina throughout and distinct engraving. The stock is fine and has incredibly crisp carving, scattered mild scratches and dings, a few minor flakes at the edges, a thin crack running from the front lock screw up to the edge of the forearm, minor tension crack at the rear lock screw, a few bruises such as on the left side of the wrist, and attractive flame figure that is most vibrant on the forend. The lock and set triggers remain mechanically fine. The bag and accessories are very good and have moderate to heavy "wear" from professional "aging" including stiffened leather and "old" repairs. This is an incredible rifle all around and is certainly deserving of its accolades. Very few rifles by Peter Resor are known, and this rifle is in exceptionally high condition for any 18th century American long rifle.

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