Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3096: Jacob Dickert U.S. 1807 Contract Flintlock American Long Rifle

Auction Date: September 12, 2021

Incredibly Rare Historic Jacob Dickert U.S. 1807 Contract Flintlock American Long Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $8,500 - $13,000

Incredibly Rare Historic Jacob Dickert U.S. 1807 Contract Flintlock American Long Rifle

Manufacturer: American
Model: Flintlock
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 62
Barrel: 38 inch part octagon
Finish: brown
Stock: maple
Item Views: 745
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 67
Class: Antique

"American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume II: From the 1790s to the End of the Flintlock Period" by George Moller on page 349 states that Dickert, DeHuff & Co. was an association of Jacob Dickert, Henry DeHuff, George Miller, Christopher Gumpf, John Bender, and Peter Gonter, all Lancaster area gunmakers. They received a contract for these rifles on December 9, 1807, from Tench Coxe for 600 rifles at $10 a piece. Jacob Dickert came to the colonies in 1740 from what is now Germany and settled in Lancaster County. He had one of the largest and most influential rifle shops in the country in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The rifles were ordered in response to ongoing tensions with the British that eventually erupted as the War of 1812. Secretary of War Henry Dearborn specified that the 1807 contract rifles should have 38 inch or shorter barrels and fire half ounce balls (.525-.53 caliber round ball, .54 bore), and Coxe was more specific in his instructions to Dickert and the other riflemakers and stated that the barrels should be 1/3 octagon and 2/3 round. They were delivered in multiple shipments. 557 rifles by these gunmakers were inspected and accepted by May 9, 1809. These rifles display a mix of signatures and markings. See the DeHuff rifle in his book and in this sale in lot [EIKZ218-83] for another example. The article "1792 and 1807 Contract Rifles" by Edward R. Flanagan in "American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin 97:30-38" lists just three 1807 contract rifles by Dickert out of a total of just fourteen total 1807 contract rifles known to survive today. While most of the world's militaries almost exclusively used muskets for their martial arms, the United States made use of riflemen both in the federal army and in state militia units. Because of the low prices specified for the rifles, they were not as high quality as the usual "Kentucky rifles" manufactured by Dickert and the other Pennsylvania riflesmiths and had issues with the locks and some of the barrels. Nonetheless, they were put in working order and issued during the War of 1812 or delivered to allied Indians. As is rather common with these early rifles, the barrel was subsequently bored out to around .62 caliber smoothbore. It has a brass blade front sight, low notch rear sight, "J [crossed tomahawk and arrow cartouche] Dickert" signed on top of the barrel in the breech section, "US" on top at the breech, "eagle head/P" proof/inspection mark on the upper left flat barrel flat, "XX" at the tail of the German style lock, frizzen and frizzen spring screws that enter from the inside of the lock, a plain trigger, a proper hickory ramrod with brass band at the tip, and a lightly figured full-length maple stock with a small cheekpiece and plain brass furniture consisting of a forend cap, two ramrod pipes, a ramrod entry pipe, side plate, trigger guard with grip extension with a spur, patch box, and buttplate. It correctly does not have any provisions for mounting a sling. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Good as reconverted to flintlock configuration with a blend of dark brown patina and brown finish on the lock and barrel, moderate pitting at the vent, lighter pitting elsewhere, aged patina on the brass furniture, and general mild wear. The repaired and refinished stock is good and has splices around the lock mortise, repaired cracks concentrated in the lengthened forend, and mild scrapes and dings. The patch box lid latch needs work, but the lock is mechanically fine.

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