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SN NSN. Almost certainly the finest wheel-lock rifle ever offered at public auction in America this splendid work of art firearm is available to collectors for the first time in 42 years. The cherry stock is profusely inlaid in masterfully engraved staghorn in both naturalistic and fanciful designs. The cheekpiece is adorned with a superbly rendered hunting scene and the rider is mounted on a horse on whose saddle blanket is engraved with a crowned cipher “C” for either Charles XI of Sweden, an enthusiastic gun collector or Christian V of Denmark, killed in 1697, while hunting. The buttplate engraving also comprises the signature of the maker, “SAMVEL KLVGE. LANDSHUT”. The patchbox cover is spring loaded and the release is concealed in the ornamentation under the stock. The bottom of the butt trap itself is inscribed “W.S. 95” presumably the initials of the artist and the date ’95’ for 1695. The inner face of the patchbox is carved with the number ’13’ doubtless a royal inventory number. The patchbox itself is a miniature work of art being entirely veneered in staghorn with a hunting scene of two mounted noblemen shooting at a large fierce boar, the left horseman firing a flintlock holster pistol and the hunter on the right firing a wheel-lock rifle. The inlay coverage on the butt is nearly complete and is of the very finest quality throughout the faces, animals, and scenes enhanced with delicate tendrils, scrolls, and pellets. The flared, octagonal tapered barrel is rifled with 9 grooves and finely engraved at the breech. The fire blued iron rear sight is chiseled with baluster finials front and rear. There is a brass-lined maker’s mark stamped at the breech “HF” over a bird and a stamp “X” on the left flat. The lock has an internal wheel allowing for application of the sumptuous, pierced and engraved, brilliantly fire gilt plaque, which is decorated en suite with the stock featuring the identical mounted horseman and is retained by internal fire-gilt brass screws. The “dog” or cock is adorned with a further fire gilt plaque pierced en suite retained by a fire gilt screw. The blued triggerguard has three finger rests and finials similar to the rear sight. The rifle is equipped with double-set triggers. A finely inlaid powder flask also signed Samuel Kluge is in the Livrustkammern, the Swedish Royal Armory, which may be the companion piece to the Kluge rifle, increasing the association with Swedish king Charles XI. PROVENANCE: Ex-The Rothschild Collection, Sold 24, June 1974, Gallerie Fischer, Lucerne, Switzerland lot 91.; Ex-Frank E. Bivens Jr., 1881 Mango Way, Pacific Palisades, CA, 1974-1976; Ex-Clay P. Bedford, Paradise Valley, AZ, 1976-1991; Ex-Peter B. Bedford, Lafayette, CA, 1991; Ex-Joseph A. Murphy, New Hope, PA. Literature: DECORATED FIREARMS 1540-1870 From the Collection of Clay P. Bedford, Wallace B. Gusler and James D. Lavin, 1977. Exhibitions: Colonial Williamsburg, 1977. This superb wheel-lock has everything a collector or museum could possibly desire in a high art firearm: an exceptionally distinguished provenance, extraordinary condition, perfection of craftsmanship, and artistic magnificence. CONDITION: The stock is in relatively pristine condition throughout with all inlays exhibiting nearly all of their period scrimshawed brilliance and very little if any wear to the inlays. Very small chip of wood stock missing below the rear end of lockplate, indiscernible with pacthbox cover in place. The barrel retains an original bright polish. The gilt lockplate cover has most of its original fire gilding as does the hammer. The triggerguard and sight have much bluing remaining. For such an elaborate gun from 1695 the state of preservation can only be considered as remarkable. 50888-1 (200,000-300,000) – Lot 4310

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Auction: Firearms - October 2016
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.