An extraordinary German wheellock rifle, Augsburg, circa 1660
Fine Antique and Modern Firearms | A92s | Live auction | 964 Lots
DescriptionOctagonal barrel in 12.5 mm calibre, slightly swamped at the muzzle. The bore somewhat rough with good rifling, dovetailed brass front sight and one-flap chiselled rear leaf sight on the top. The wheellock with internal wheel, the lock plate with a scene from a wild boar hunt, the cock engraved with mythical sea monsters, set trigger. The wooden full stock and the patch box veneered in staghorn plaques, stamped "EB" on the inside. An enamelled copper plaque with a depiction of Diana reposing with her hunting hounds in a gilt brass frame on the cheek appliqué on the left side of the butt. The stock with a smooth, iron trigger guard. The ramrod thimbles and butt plate also made of staghorn. Length 105.5 cm.
Provenance: It is highly likely that this weapon was originally from the armoury of the Grand Dukes of Saxe-Weimar in Ettersburg Castle. The presence of the initials "EB" in the patch box alone indicates this provenance. Weapons from the armoury of Ettersburg Castle were offered for purchase on various occasions in the late 19th century, with sales continuing until after World War I. The 1927 auction held by Fischer/Kahlert included a wheellock rifle (lot 73), which was entirely veneered in staghorn, like the one presented here, and featured an enamel medallion on the butt. This gun is probably identical with the rifle which is today in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Accession Number: 2015.446a–d), signed by Martin Kammerer, active in Augsburg. Wheellock weapons that were completely covered in rough staghorn with a largely natural finish were very much in vogue in Germany in the decades between the middle of the 17th century and the early 18th century. The few examples still surviving today would suggest that Augsburg was the production centre of these weapons. A similar rifle currently forms part of the collection in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich (Inv. no. W994). Cf. also the Hermann Historica Auction in Brussels, 13 December 2011, lot 147.
Condition: II Questions about the lot?