This early 18th century pistol is accompanied by it's sterling silver "KENTUCKY RIFLE ASSOCIATION /1990/ BEST PISTOL" hanging award, made by Colonial Williamsburg. The pistol is featured on page 51 of "Steel Canvas" by R.L. Wilson. According to the Kentucky Rifle Foundation John Rupp lived between 1786 and 1848. He was the nephew of early gunsmith Herman Rupp. John Rupp was taxed as a gunsmith in Weisenberg Twp., Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. John Rupp specimens regularly present fully evolved Lehigh architecture, sleek and graceful with a pronounced curved buttstock profile. John Rupp's work and his pistols are very difficult to tell apart from those made by Jacob Kuntz. John Rupp pistols are much more rare than those by Kuntz. Only six are known to exist. All are very similar with the same form, hardware, style and finishes. This particular example features a smoothbore two-stage iron barrel with an applied brass teardrop front sight. The flat lock plate is marked "J. COOPER" in the center and has a few sprigs of decoration. The lock features a roller-frizzen. The silver wrist escutcheon is professionally inscribed "JR" for John Rupp. The barrel is retained by two brass keys, both surrounded by engraved silver inlays on both sides. The brass furniture includes a trigger guard with an engraved pineapple front finial and a floral motif on the bow. The pommel cap terminates in a point and is engraved with floral decoration around the screw. The two piece side plate escutcheons are classic John Rupp and are engraved with foliate scrolls and flowers. Rear ramrod entry ferrule is engraved on the tang with an acanthus leaf and a flower. Brass nose cap with engraved rocker-panel border. The highly figured tiger maple stock is of classic Lehigh County form and retains most of its original purple violin finish. The wrist has a shaped checkered panel and there is a small relief border surrounding the tombstone shaped barrel tang. Two incised lines are carved on both sides on the underside, parallel with trigger guard. Forend also shows double line decoration. Complete with its original wooden ramrod.
CONDITION: Very good as found and untouched attic condition. Barrel retains a pleasing dark patina with scattered minor pitting. Lock is in its original flintlock configuration and retains a dark patina, functions properly and markings excellent. Silver furniture shows a dark pewter patina and brass furniture is dark and unpolished. Stock retains much of its original finish, showing some wear from handling and scattered marks. Minor area shows small repair to wood just above foremost ramrod ferrule. An iron square nail was added during the period to secure tang of brass pommel cap. An extraordinary John Rupp Kentucky pistol. DMG Barrel Length: 9" Caliber/Bore: TBD FFL Status: Antique Manufacturer: John Rupp, Attributed Model: Flintlock Pistol Paperwork: Article Serial Number:
When Robert Weil started collecting images for the Contemporary Makers book in 1973 the challenge to record contemporary gun work was daunting. Gathering material was difficult and time consuming. Few makers thought that there was any value in published documentation of their work. Electronic publishing has changed all that. Having a website or having one's work available to view on the internet is becoming a necessity. In spite of all the potential to finally have a true overview of what's being produced by the artists of today, a great deal of work still remains covered up and basically unknown. Our role is to make an effort to document some portion of what’s going on today. To comment on the established makers and to uncover the unknown. We welcome your comments and suggestions and look to you our readers to make us aware of the talented makers out there. Art and Jan Riser Robert Weil and The Makers