Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1383: "Wheellock" Wentlzau Stock Reservoir Air Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Incredible Rare "Wheellock" Wentlzau Stock Reservoir Air Rifle

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

Incredible Rare "Wheellock" Wentlzau Stock Reservoir Air Rifle

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Gauge: 56
Barrel: 30 1/2 inch octagon
Finish: bright
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 515
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 184
Class: Other
Bore Condition: -

This "windbuchse" (wind rifle) at first glance looks like a conventional wheellock sporting rifle, but upon picking it up, it is noticeable heavy for its size, and several features are purely cosmetic such as the "vent" and "patchbox." The lock even has an automatic pan cover. Though it appears to have a wheellock mechanism, the lock is not used to produce sparks to ignite a charge of black powder. Instead, the rifle is powered by an air reservoir in the buttstock accessed via a trapdoor opened by pushing the screw on the lower left. Other air rifles by Wentzlau/Wenzlau/Wenslau of Ehrenbreitstein are known that are disguised as traditional flintlock jaeger rifles. They are dated to the mid 18th century. Wentzlau was a court gunmaker to the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadtst active c. 1747-1784 per Heer in "Der Neue Stockel." The swamped barrel has traditional German rifling, blade and notch sights, "WENTZLAV A EHRENBREITSTEIN N=100" inscribed on top behind the rear sight, and a beaded border design at the breech end. On the left stock flat, there is plate with a switch and release button, and the plate is engraved with a dog chasing a boar. The rifle has double set triggers and iron furniture. The buttplate has the noted trapdoor compartment and is inscribed "5." The forend and ramrod tips and left washer are staghorn. The stock has raised tear drop flats, raised relief shell and floral carving, and a rounded cheek rest with scroll accents.

Rating Definition:

Very fine with half of the nitre blue colors on the top jaw and pan cover remaining and a silver gray patina on the balance of the metal throughout. The engraving and markings are crisp. The stock is also fine and has crisp carving, scattered minor dings and scratches, and smooth finish. Not mechanically tested.

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