Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jacob Kuntz at James Julia Auction

Lehigh County Relief Carved Rifle by Jacob Kuntz

42-3/4" full oct 60 Cal. rifled unsigned bbl. Rifle is relief and incised carved forward of and behind the cheekpiece and the sideplates on the two piece patchbox are incised carved. Relief carving is present forward of the patchbox. Relief carving is profuse around the rear ramrod entrance pipe and is also nicely done around the bbl tang. Carving on this gun is the finest this cataloger has ever seen on a gun from the Lehigh Valley area. Two piece patchbox is heavy cast brass and the finial is engraved. Trigger guard is also cast brass and both the guard and the patchbox show original casting flaws. Heavy brass beveled arrow back sideplate is typical of the area and is not engraved. There is an engraved silver eight-pointed star on the cheek and the top point rolls over the comb. Stock is beautiful curly maple and the wrist is egg shaped, wider than high. Profile is classic Lehigh County. This cataloger is very familiar with this rifle. This rifle turned up at a barn sale in Snyder County in the 1960's and was purchased by Dallas Ewing, a very close friend of this consignor. At the time it was located the forend wood, from the rear entrance pipe to the nosecap, was missing. The forend was painstakingly and professionally restored so perfectly that the officers of the Kentucky Rifle Association were unaware that it had been repaired when they inspected the rifle. Since that time another gun, not in nearly as good condition, with the same exact carving surfaced. The second gun was important, however, because it was signed "Jacob Kuntz" identifying the maker of both guns. This gun was selected to be used extensively in the advertising for the Kentucky Rifle Association's 50th anniversary and was featured on their 50th anniversary banners. This cataloger remains of the opinion this rifle ranks among the best of the existing Lehigh County guns. Jacob Kuntz "Kunz" is a very important maker who was trained in Allentown, PA. Jacob moved to Philadelphia in 1810, and in 1812 married Barbara Newhard niece of the famous Allentown gunsmith Peter Newhard. in 1833 the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia awarded Jacon Kuntz a silver metal for his skill and ingenuity. Jacob died at the age of 95 years after becoming Philadelphia's most sought after gunsmith by wealthy customers in England, Scotland, and America. Jacob was an excellent engraver and several examples of his work are on display in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. This gun being offered in this auction originated from the same collection as one of the Kuntz rifles currently on display in the Metropolitan Museum's collection. Item appeared in the President's display, Kentucky Rifle Association. 

PROVENANCE: See President's Display of Kentucky Rifle Association; see Brochure of Kentucky Rifle Association, 2011. Dallas Ewing, Dr. James Dorsey, Henry Bishop. Collection of Dr. Douglas Sirkin. 

CONDITION: Rifle is in wonderful condition throughout. Carving is crisp and beautifully done. Casting flaws seen on the cast brass patchbox finial and cast brass trigger guard are original and correct. 4-50130 RG41 (50,000-70,000)

Small Flintlock Pistol Signed by Jacob Kuntz, Philadelphia

5-1/2" full oct rifled .58 Cal bbl engraved "J KUNZ PHILADa". Bbl tang is engraved and orig flintlock is marked "BROOMHEAD & THOMAS". Pistol has a pewter nosecap and bbl is held to stock with one bbl wedge. Pistol grip is checkered and stock is walnut. Pistol has 3-1/2" long nicely figured 1-screw sideplate. Iron trigger guard, buttcap and ramrod ferrules retain some of their orig blueing.

PROVENANCE: Frank Sujansky Collection. 

CONDITION: Small crack from rear of lock toward trigger guard and some rough spots around lock mortice. Pistol seems to be in orig condition throughout with only normal age imperfections. 4-49494 RG32 (2,000-4,000)

Lehigh Cunty Violin Finish Pistol Attributed to Jacob Kuntz

8-1/4" oct to rnd .45 Cal smooth unmarked bbl. Percussion lock, which has been converted from flint is stamped "ROGERS & BROTHERS PHILADELPHIA WARRANTED". Curly maple stock has very desirable Lehigh County red violin finish and the wrist is nicely checkered. Stock has a relief border around bbl tang typical of Kunz family guns and there are two incised scribe lines on each side of trigger guard under lock and sideplate panels as well as two scribe lines from breech back 1-1/2" above lock and sideplate panels, also characteristic of Kunz's work. Brass sideplates are nicely engraved and are typical of the patterns used by Jacob and Peter Kunz. Buttcapp is floral engraved around its retaining screw and two bbl wedges are set into silver football shaped engraved inlays. Oval silver inlay behind bbl tang that is initialed "JD". This is the most desirable of the Kunz family style pistols. This pistol won the coveted Kentucky Rifle Association Silver Best Pistol Award at the associations 1981 annual meeting. 

PROVENANCE: Frank Sujansky Collection. 

CONDITION: Clean and solid throughout with only expected age related imperfections and lock is converted from flintlock. Truly a fabulous pistol! 4-49462 RG45 (20,000-30,000)

Copy and photos from James Julia.

1 comment:

  1. I would have said the rifle was Peter Neihardt without even considering anyone else. I would love to see this other rifle with "identical carving" that is signed "Jacob Kuntz"!