Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1388: Johann Jakob Behr Swivel Breech Flintlock Sporting Gun

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Highly Embellished Engraved, Gilded, and Elaborately Inlaid Carved Johann Jakob Behr Swivel Breech Superposed Barrel Flintlock Combination Gun

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Estimated Price: $8,000 - $12,000

Highly Embellished Engraved, Gilded, and Elaborately Inlaid Carved Johann Jakob Behr Swivel Breech Superposed Barrel Flintlock Combination Gun

Manufacturer: Unknown
Model: Flintlock
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 60
Barrel: 30 1/2 inch part octagon
Finish: blue
Stock: hardwood
Item Views: 336
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 188
Class: Antique

This c. 1730s-1740s combination gun from Johann Jakob Behr of Maastricht and/or Liege has one rifled barrel and one smoothbore barrel and is a swivel breech or "wender" design with the release mechanism for the barrels built into the trigger guard. The two-stage barrels have brass blade front sights. It also features a single "pig tail" trigger, floral engraving, and a classical figure on the barrel tang. The gilt brass back action lock has "I-I-BEHR" and is engraved with scroll patterns and a classical figure reaching towards a dragon-esque mask inhabiting the scrolls. The plates with the pans and frizzen hardware are also gilt brass and have scroll and border designs. The forend panels and stock are ornamented in the tradition of earlier high end wheellock sporting rifles and are ornamented from muzzle to butt with staghorn/bone/antique ivory inlays beautifully shaped and engraved with floral patterns and hunting related scenes and figures. The side flat plat has a classical warrior fighting a hydra like beast inhabiting the scrolls, the top of the wrist has a man blowing a hunting horn, the right side of the stock has a hunter with a leashed dog and fleeing fox along with a vignette of a hunter with horn on horseback riding towards a stag in the water in a highly detailed scene that also includes another hunter and dog on the left, leaping deer in the background, and detailed landscape. The left side has inlays showing a kneeling hunter taking a shot at a deer subdued by a dog and another vignette of a man on horseback pointing towards an estate in a scene with a detailed landscape. The heel plates have mermen style creatures, and a design with two mythical beasts is on the toe plate. The antique ivory buttplate has floral designs by the pins. A single ramrod is fitted along one side of the barrel group and has coordinating engraving on the tip.

Rating Definition:

Fine with mostly smooth brown patina on the barrels and iron lock components, traces of fire blue finish, distinct engraving and strong original gilded finish on the brass components, and mild overall wear. The wood is good and has some wavy edges on the forend panels, a ramrod channel break through near the rear, a break in the wrist, some replaced inlays, generally crisp designs, and some small chips and cracks. Mechanically fine. Fine firearms by Behr are in multiple fine public and private collections, including several art museums, thanks to the beauty and complexity of his arms. This is a rare chance to add a rare combination sporting gun by Behr to your collection.

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