Sunday, September 29, 2013

Early Wooden Patchbox Rifle by John Graeff of Lancaster

43" full oct 65 Cal. rifled bbl signed in script "J. Graeff". This very rifle is pictured in Joe Kindig's Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age p. 90 picture number 22. This early rifle has a 5-1/2" wooden patchbox. Stock is curly maple and sideplate is heavy beveled brass. Bbl tang is squared in the back. Early flint lock is signed but is difficult to read. Name appears to be "Wheeler". Rifle is incised carved on both sides at the rear ramrod entrance ferrule with scribe lines running up to just behind the nosecap. Kindig notes the earliest record calling John Graeff a gunsmith is a court summons dated 1775. In General Hand's papers of 1794, Graeff is credited with making at least 156 rifles for the government. He is listed as a gunsmith in the Lancaster tax records for 1780, 1788, 1802, 1803. He died in Lancaster in 1804. We know John Graeff was a gunsmith in Lancaster during and right after the Revolutionary War. He was a fine artisan. It was Kindig's opinion this wooden patchbox example of Graeff's work was rather early. 

PROVENANCE: See Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in Its Golden Age, 1960, by Kindig Jr., pp. 88, 90, #22. Joe Kindig Collection. Collection of Dr. Douglas Sirkin. 

CONDITION: There are a number of normal age and stress cracks along the forend, one running 12" from the nosecap back along the right side at the bbl. Another starting about 26" back from the nosecap and running forward about 2-1/2", and a third beginning about 26-1/4" back from the nosecap on the left hand side running forward about 4-1/2". No evidence visible of any wood replacements or restoration. 4-49919 RG50 (10,000-15,000)

Copy and photos from James Julia.

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