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Silver inlaid Kentucky rifle, WH Folger, Barnesville, O

Lot 5729
Silver inlaid Kentucky rifle, signed twice on top of barrel W H Folger. William H Folger is listed as a gun maker in Barnesville, Ohio, he was born in 1813 and is listed as working from 1838-1886. The lock marked Wolff and Gillespie. They are listed as NY Importers, c 1848-1852. Curly maple stock inlaid with multiple devices and emblems, overall length 52 3/4". This Kentucky rifle has a 36" full octagonal, rifled barrel (.32 caliber) and a fine curly maple full- stock ornamented with approximately 50 plus silver inlays, as well as other silver 1/8" wide line inlays, all in addition to a full four-piece, silver patchbox. The only brass mountings on this rifle are the butplate, 6" toeplate, and the triggerguard which houses the double set triggers. The original percussion lock faintly reads "Wolff and Gillespie." In addition to the rifle's fancy solid-silver patchbox, many of the silver inlays have ornamental designs, and some of the line inlays are "swagged" along the upper fore-stock. The ornamental inlays include "Masonic" devices such as the square and the compass dividers and also a set of "Crossed Keys", a likely lodge symbol. Two single "fletched" arrows (one missing) are inlaid at the barrel tang and also a third one on the underside of the stock. Additionally, two silver inlaid spears, and a "baker's dozen" of silver hearts are inlaid on the stock. Significantly, as this is a rifle, there is also a silver inlaid full figure of a "hunter with his gun" and a "running fox" on the stock's cheek side while a silver hunting knife and a silver crescent moon are also inlaid on the cheek piece. There are two unidentified animals, squirrels possibly, racing along the wrist. The elaborate silver patch box has a "heart" piercing in its finial, fancy scalloped side plates, and its large size dominates the right hand side of the butt stock. At a later period when the rifle was still in use, the original barrel length was shortened by three inches at the breech end, and, in doing so, a corresponding amount of the fine curly maple stock was removed and a silver band was installed over the new splice-joint, possibly an alteration by the original gunsmith himself. This was not an uncommon alteration in the 19th century. Perhaps the rifle was being passed down to a younger member of the family who needed the slightly shorter barrel. From the time this rifle was made, it has remained in the same family until this present time, and has a pleasing dry surface, remaining fully intact, except for the in-period alteration. This is a highly ornate Ohio rifle which ,when made, may have reflected the current life of its owner, as it has "a lot of eye candy", (possibly corresponding to the owners memberships in fraternal organizations, which were highly popular at the time). Perhaps it originally may have been a personal gun of the maker, William H. Folger, who may have stamped it with his name a second time when the barrel was shortened. During the 1840's and on, there was a common tendency to make or own a "flashy" firearm, and there is still a very strong audience for these highly decorated rifles of this time period, especially those rifles that carry this much silver! Note: William H. Folger was born in Winchester, Virginia in 1813 and re-located to Ohio in 1834 and continued working up to a least 1886, in Barnesville, Ohio where he lived for almost all of his adult life.

Starting Bid

$3,000.00

Buyer's Premium

  • 23%

Silver inlaid Kentucky rifle, WH Folger, Barnesville, O

Auction ended on Tue, Apr 30, 2013
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Estimate $5,000 - $9,000
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$6,750.00
Starting Bid
$3,000.00
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One Hillman Drive
Chadds Ford , PA 19317
United States
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