Monday, November 16, 2020


Full octagon, key-fastened, rifled barrel of 43-3/4" length and 0.54 caliber; with John Noll's touchmark “IN” with dagger in raised silver cartouche on left flat near breech, signed on the top flat “John Noll”; dovetailed notched rear sight and brass front sight. The rifle, with an overall length of 59-1/2", exhibit the classic features of the Chambersburg School of riflemaking as evidenced in Noll’s other known rifles, the relief work on the left or cheekpiece side of the butt with handsomely-carved relief 'C' scroll motifs with incised cross-hatching, with comparable relief and incised carving work around the engraved and pierced brass four-piece patchbox on the right side, the tang of barrel and lock; the oval silver thumb piece inlaid on the wrist of the stock has a Federal eagle with shield skillfully engraved upon it. The flat lock with beveled edges is unmarked and is a skillful reconversion back to flint. John Noll was a master gunsmith, carver and engraver who incorporated classic rococo design elements in his carving, in thoughtfully composed designs. John Noll is listed as a gunsmith in Washington Township in Franklin County, Pennsylvania with working dates between 1800 and 1820 and is considered one of the master gunsmiths of the golden age of Kentucky rifles. He was equally adept as both carver and engraver, with few contemporaries able to equal his respective abilities in both areas. [with] (B) An unusual eagle-head pommel short saber, the only known sword attributed to Noll, with a curved, wide-fullered blade of 26-1/2" length and 1-1/4" wide at ricasso. The saber is 32-1/2" long overall and features a unique hilt in that the pommel, as well as grip, is of wood. The grip appears to be of mahogany and carved with spiral grooves and channels, while the pommel, also of the same wood, is a beautifully-carved, crested eagle-head copied from the cast-metal eagle-head pommels found on classic Philadelphia school swords of the Federal era. Its D-shaped knucklebow guard is of flat silver stock that is solder-joined at its rear to a silver ring-shaped ferrule or collar between pommel and grip, while there is a silver, banded ferrule in front of the grip that is soldered directly to the inside face of the silver guard, which terminates in a simple, rounded quillon that curves forward. Noll’s “IN” touchmark is struck on the outer face of the guard, just above the blade spine, while “Col. John Hay” is engraved in script on the outside of the knuckle-bow. John Hay (?-1810) served as a lieutenant colonel in the York County militia during the first decade of the 19th century. Both sword and rifle are illustrated and discussed on p. 24 of “Silver Mounted Swords: The Lattimer Family Collection (2000) by Daniel Hartzler. CONDITION: (A) The barrel a gunmetal grey with a few light patches of freckling down its length, with some wear from old cleanings; the stock and mountings overall very good, with an occasional ding or rub as expected; (B) The sword blade a gunmetal grey in tone; the hilt good and complete, some light scratches and dings to the silver- and wood-word and traces of old silver paint to the pommel. JLK

Minimum Bid: $7,500.
Current Bid: $10,000.
Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000

Auction: Tuesday, Nov 17, 2020

Copy and photos from Morphy Auctions here.

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