KENTUCKY RIFLE signed "A. A." Abraham Angstadt $6500
Kutztown, Berks County Pennsylvania
This fullstock Kentucky rifle in tiger maple has an old pleasing red cast to its vintage surface. It measures 57 1/4 inches long with a .40 cal 42 inch full octagon barrel signed "A A" on the top flat. It has brass fittings and dates circa 1800-1812. The Kutztown School of riflemakers are considered works of folk art because of the many examples with folky decoration adorning these rifles. This rifle has three "folky" decorations: 1) a very pleasing but naive engraved brass eagle inlay on the cheekpiece (see pics) 2) two liberty caps dot-engraved on either side of the rear sight (see pics) and 3) an apparent screaming or flaming man engraved on the end of the patchbox lid (see pics). I am sure this human characature has its roots deep in Germanic or Gnostic folk lore. This screaming man reminds me of Edvard Munch's 20th century painting "The Scream". The full tiger maple stock is neatly incise carved behind and forward of the cheekpiece, and around the barrel tang, The stock also has pairs of beauty lines running up both sides of the forestock as well as pairs of incised beauty lines running on either side of the lower butt stock line. The four piece brass patchbox is quite extensively engraved with "C" and "S" scrolls, geometric patterns as well as a long and lazy "S" scroll on the patchbox lid ending in a human characature (with the two patchbox lid rivets for the catch serving as the figure's two eyes). There are two brass inlays, the previously mentioned eagle and a shield shaped vacant escutcheon behind the barrel tang carving.
Note: Abraham was probably a son of Adam(I) Angstadt or Adams' son Joseph. Adam(I) was also the father of the Kentucky rifle maker Peter Angstadt. Noted Kentucky rifle expert, Bruce Moyer (who is also a member of the Angstadt family) has done extensive research on the Angstadts and has stated that "All Kentucky rifles signed either 'A.A.' or 'A. Angstadt' are the work of Abraham not Adam". Abraham was not known until Bruce researched the Angstadts and discovered Abraham and his interesting history. Although it is not known for sure who Abraham's father was, Abraham was working at the gunworks of "Adam Angstadt & Son" alongside Adam, Joseph, and Jacob (son of Adam's other gunsmith son Peter) in the 1805-1812 period. It is probable that Abraham is the son of Adam but that is an educated guess. When it came time for Abraham to train, rather than apprentice to his probable father Adam or uncles Peter or Joseph Angstadt, he was sent to Reading to apprentice with one of the master gunsmiths there. This is why the patchboxes on Abraham's early rifles and even some later rifles have strong Reading influence. You can see the Reading influence on this rifle's patchbox.
Condition: Good to Very Good for its age and use. The original flintlock has been poorly reconverted with the frizzen being loose and not engaging the frizzen spring. There is some wood missing just below the tail of the lock to facilitate the trigger sear (see pics). The forward lock cross bolt is present but stripped. There is evidence of splintering at the forestock which has been repaired. There is a sliver ( 1 1/2" x 1/4") of wood replaced in front of the lock where there was percussion erosion and there is a 1/4" x 14" sliver restored on the reverse side from the nose cap back 14".