When I was 12 years old my grandmother in Pittsburgh unexpectedly pulled an old, Pennsylvania made, Kentucky style musket out of a closet and gave it to me. When you are 12, something like that is far beyond “way cool”.
This particular gun had been converted from a flintlock to a cap and ball mechanism like the one shown below.
The gun my Grandmother gave me was old and neglected, but had “good bones”. There was a beautiful brass mounted patch pocket on the butt, some pretty engraving on the lock plate, and the fore-stock had some nice tiger maple striping. However, there was some damage from powder ignition right in front of the lock, and forward on the stock, it had split and needed restoration badly.
It was a strictly a display gun. What I have always called a “fireplace piece”… one that you could hang over your fireplace as decor for the “WE have an Early American Heritage” look…
It has traveled with me to every home I’ve had since I graduated college. Sometimes it hung on the wall, sometimes it stood in the corner, and sometimes it languished in a closet, but I have always treasured it as the most wonderful gift my Grandmother D ever gave me.
As part of the chore of cleaning out so many things here at the Château, the gun was one of those that I made the painful decision to let go. I put it in the For Sale listings on an antique gun site here on the Internet. Some of the guys on there were nice enough to give me good price range advice and one ended up buying from me at what I found to be fair and equitable.
I had a surprise in my email today when he sent me photos of the gun with all of the restoration work completed. I’m delighted. The Fates obviously decreed that this guy was to be “the next owner”.
Nothing fancy, nothing too over-the-top, nothing showy… Just a wonderfully faithful restoration to its original look.
All of the wood damage has been repaired, the lock is been restored to a flintlock mechanism that matches beautifully, the brass work has not been polished to a ridiculous and impractical shine… It just simply looks like a gun that one of my ancestors would’ve used on a daily basis.
I especially love the addition of the silver nosepiece at the tip of the fore-stock. I am truly glad that the gun went to someone who had the time, the money and the knowledge to do a good job on its restoration. That is something that I would never have been able to achieve.
While it is a silly thing, one of the most delightful parts of the photos that he sent is the fact that this staging for the last photo [of the entire gun] could so easily be right out at the feet of one of my birch trees in my own yard.