View Full Version : Old finds

December 10, 2008, 11:17 PM
In my line of work i have been in many thousands of folks homes. I've seen more civil war guns and private collections than you can shake a stick at and it takes a real nice piece to get my attention.

Even though i don't have pics i want to mention 3 guns i've come across.

One was an ancient muzzleloader that had a round, pinwheel type ignition system. Extremely crude and obviously many, many hundreds of years old. The stock was almost full length and had almost no butt. It was made from what the owner thought was whalebone. It was inletted with beautiful and huge slices of mother of pearl. This work was obviously done by someone other than whomever built the gun. I remember that the barrel was not blunderbussed out and the owner thought??? it was spanish. Thats all i know about it but it was surely one of a kind.

The other two were hanging above a fireplace and i ask the owner if i could look at them. He said "sure" and i was soon checking out two Penn. long rifles made by the same man. Unbelievable tiger maple short stocks, switchbarrel design(2 shot), german silver inlets everywhere. I can't remember the builders name but i could find it in one of my antique gun books if i tried. I found it when i got home. John something i think. A common name.Built guns from the 1790's through the 1840's i think it said. Then his sons took over. These must have been later pieces as they were percussion. Anyways, the book priced them at $40,000.00 (15 years ago) but they needed independent varification and grading for final pricing. Wasn't enough of them made to really nail down the worth i'd say.

I told the customer what he had and he laughed as he said he'd bought them both at an estate auction in PA. for a few hundred dollars.

Not looking for additional info on these as theres not much to tell.

Just thought i'd mention seeing these guns as this forum allows me to tell my years worth of meaningless gun stories to an audience who cares:) never had that..J.R.

December 11, 2008, 06:32 PM
Thanks Reb, I like reading, and listening, to folks experiences. Especially the generation that is quickly disappearing. They don't make 'em like that anymore!

December 12, 2008, 09:33 PM
Not looking for additional info on these as theres not much to tell.

Nonetheless, it would be great if someone who knows about such guns would add a little more. I relish learning about old, collectible pieces.

Thanks for sharing, JonnyReb.

December 12, 2008, 10:19 PM
Thanks for the post ya'll. Not sure why i wrote about those 3 pieces...it was late and i've coveted them since i saw them. Guess thats why. Especially the one with a whalebone stock. As crude and ancient as that gun was, i'm sure its been hundreds of years since its been fired but i imagine the elation and wonder of those who have seen it. I'll bet it was many times over the first gun a person had ever seen and how many different owners it's had can't even be accurately guessed at. The folks who had it were older and said it would be passed down to their son. I hope he appreciates it.

Those two switchbarrels were hung over the fireplace of a ventless gas firelog. I explained to the owner that the logset puts out gallons of water vapor during a weeks worth of usage and the guns would be quickly damaged. They were so perfect. Whomever had owned them before took excellent care of them.I warned him but the way he looked at made me realize that he had never cleaned a gun in his life let alone worried about a rusty one. All i hope is that the dollar amounts i threw out there prompted him to protect those beauties. And wish i'd offered him 5 grand for both of them when i saw them. Before i checked the book value.

O'well glad i got to see them...J.R.

Bill DeShivs
December 13, 2008, 01:51 AM
The first gun was obviously a wheel-lock. The wheel was wound against a spring, and when it was lowered to the frizzen, sparks ignited the powder.
The over/under twist barrels were probably very valuable guns.
The reason guns were traditionally hung over the fireplace is because it is a warm, dry spot-not conducive to rust.

December 17, 2008, 07:27 PM
Jonnyreb:I know what you mean.I was discharged from the navy in Key west and wife and I took the bus to her home in Memphis.stopped in Burmingham AL to cash my discharge check.saw a gun store and went in I never got over it.sharps and colts and win and broom handles and savage autos and spensers.oh to have known then.I left witha win 73 in 32./20 and a colt lightning in 38.$5 for the win and $3 for the colt.and rode the bus to Memphis then the train to Boston.had the rifle in the open and no one said a word or looked twice.they looked saw and went back to what they were doing.I used to buy guns in NH and in Boston(privately).now I am finding guns like the Swiss 41 1881 and the German 1884 and the German 88.:rolleyes::D

December 17, 2008, 08:14 PM
Know what you mean teddy. Times have changed and mostly for the worse so far as guns are concerned. Don't make them like they used to and those old ones are getting harder to come across.

Only reason i had mentioned these is because i knew that they were 3 that almost no matter what, i'd never run across again...J.R.