This is a very seldom seen and extremely desirable example of a French Saint Etienne Model 1717 flintlock infantry musket still in its original configuration. The Model 1717 is historically significant as France's first regulation shoulder arm, and approximately 48,000 were manufactured in total by Saint Etienne, Charleville, and Maubeuge between 1717-1728; with very few surviving examples today, mostly residing in museum collections. Most of these muskets were issued to France's regular troops in Europe and saw hard use in the Seven Years'/French and Indian War era, although it is of interesting note that Benjamin Franklin is said to have purchased a number of these French Model 1717 muskets during the Revolutionary War, and archaeological evidence from the Battle of Guilford Courthouse indicates use by American troops. French Model 1717 infantry muskets are described on pages 306-309 of George D. Moller's book "American Military Shoulder Arms Volume I" in which the picture caption second from the bottom on page 307 states, "The salient feature that distinguishes the locks of 1717 model-series of arms is the curved bridle that extends upwards from the frizzen spring screw to support the head of the frizzen screw." Features an early wooden ramrod, bayonet stud on top of the barrel towards the muzzle, sling rings mounted on the left of the iron rear barrel band and left stock flat, iron trigger guard with two long teardrop finials, iron S shaped side plate, and an iron buttplate with a long "wasp-waisted" tang. Faint remnants of the Saint Etienne Arsenal marking above a partial marking that appears to read "P MELETE" at the center of the early lock, and faint stock maker markings behind rear of the trigger guard tang. Small "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes a reproduction socket bayonet and reproduction leather sling. For more information on these muskets reference the books "The History of Weapons of the American Revolution" and "Battle Weapons of the American Revolution" by George C. Neumann, "Muskets of the Revolution" by Bill Ahearn, and "Arms and Armor in Colonial America 1526-1783" by Harold L. Peterson in which the book states in a picture caption at the top of page 166, "Muskets of this model conforming exactly to specifications are almost impossible to find." Provenance: The George Moller Collection
Good, exhibiting smooth brown patina with traces of artificially enhanced finish, scattered light pitting, and moderate flash pitting at the breech and lock. Stock is also good as lightly sanded and re-oiled with scattered scratches and handling marks, some chips ahead of the side plate, a few cracks at the rear of the side plate, a repaired chipped section ahead of the top of the lock, a crack ahead of the lock, a large pressure dent above the lock, a few chips on the right of the buttstock, and an attractive figure overall. Mechanically fine. A French Model 1717 infantry musket is considered by many collectors to be the creme de la creme of early martial longarms. This spectacular example, right out of George Moller's prominent collection, remains in its original configuration and would make for a prized centerpiece to any advanced early martial or Pre-Revolutionary War era collection!
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