Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1071: 18th Century Brass Barreled Flintlock Officer's Pistol

Auction Date: August 27, 2022

Revolutionary War Era 18th Century Brass Barreled Flintlock Officer's Pistol

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $3,500 - $5,500

Revolutionary War Era 18th Century Brass Barreled Flintlock Officer's Pistol

Manufacturer: Unknown
Model: Flintlock
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 62
Barrel: 8 1/8 inch round
Finish: bright
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 401
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 62
Class: Antique

This pistol is nearly identical to the example on pages 28-29 of "Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock, 1760-1845" by Smith & Bitter, page 420 of "The William M. Locke Collection," and item 32 in "The New England Gun" by Lindsay and now part of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. That pistol has been attributed to Asa Waters I (1742-1813) during the American Revolutionary War based on the "SUTTON" mark on the barrel and "WATERS" on the lock. There has sometimes been confusion over the years regarding Asa Waters and his family of gunmakers in Massachusetts in the late 18th and early 19th century and John Waters, Waters & Co., and Waters, Gill & Co. of the English gun trade c. 1766-1788. This and other pistols in the U.S. marked "WATERS" are very English in design and have curved "PRO" and "VED" proof marks on the left side of the barrels at the breech which are also found on pistols made by Water & Co. in England, guns by the Probin family gunmakers, and others in the English gun trade. The Waters in England also frequently used the classic Georgian grotesque mask design for the pommels, including multiple silver examples with Birmingham hallmarks. It has been said that Asa Waters was copying these English markings, and English firearms were naturally popular in the colonies. This pistol lacks the "SUTTON" and "WATERS" markings and shows no signs of having ever had a marking on the top of the barrel. The bridleless lock may have had a marking at the center that was filed off. The brass, smoothbore barrel has English style curved "PRO" and "VED" private proof marks on the left, and engraved sight flat on top, and engraved iron tang. The lock also has some scroll engraving. The furniture is brass and includes a scroll and martial trophies pattern side plate, trigger guard with shell finial and star pattern on the bow, wrist escutcheon with coordinating star and floral patterns, and a classic grotesque mask pommel. The full-length stock has wire inlaid scroll patterns around the barrel tang. The ramrod has a horn tip.

Rating Definition:

Good with aged patina on the brass barrel and furniture, crack in the side plate, mottled gray patina along with mild pitting on the iron, repaired ramrod, and mild overall wear. The refinished stock is also good with repaired cracks and splices in the forend, some chips at the edges, a crack in the left flat, and mild dings and scratches. Mechanically fine.

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