Sunday, March 23, 2014

Relief Carved Golden Age Flintlock Rifle by Adams County Gunsmith Adam Ernst

42″ oct to rnd 48 Cal. smooth bbl signed “A Ernst”. Overall 57″, butt is 4-1/2″ x 1-1/2″. Bbl is fastened to curly maple stock with 4 bbl wedges. 4-pc engraved brass patchbox has 5 piercings. Head is shaped like a dogs head with a ball or other round object in its mouth. Engraving is somewhat sparse but extremely good. Beveled brass sideplate is nicely engraved. Hand forged flintlock is unmarked. Cheekpiece side of stock is profusely relief carved to rear, under and forward of cheekpiece. Carving is composed of a large number of C-scrolls and is the work of an artist superb in using rococo design. It would be very difficult to find rococo better exemplified in the work of any other gunsmith. Half moon silver engraved inlay on cheekpiece and an oval silver inlay on top of wrist which is engraved “JB”. Nicely relief carved around bbl tang with outstanding incised carving behind rear ramrod pipe. Adam Ernst is listed as a gunsmith in Berwick Township, Adams County, PA, in the years 1805-1811. Adam died in 1857 which would suggest he was a gunsmith from about 1800 on. A. Ernst always used a beautifully scrolled trigger, generally with very beautiful piercings in rear as seen on this rifle. Another characteristic feature of Ernst’s work is molded detail at front end of trigger guard. Carving and patchbox design are very similar to rifle no.157 on p. 362 of Kindig’s Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in it’s Golden Age 

PROVENANCE: Collection of Dr. Douglas Sirkin. 

CONDITION: Extremely fine condition exhibiting some of the best of Adam Ernst carving. 20″ of forend wood and 12″ of bbl at muzzle have been professionally replaced. 4-49813 RG14 (25,000-40,000)

Copy and photos from James Julia.

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