Adam Ernst, one premier late 18th & early 19th century flint lock, long rifle makers. Shows early American Masonic Freemasons Ciphers. You will see three different cipher grid designs on the stock and a simple xxxx cipher grid on the side plate. These designs are seen on the two Joseph Wright, US Mint’s 1792 George Washington Indian Peace Medals. My other posts shows the grid on GW’s boots and jacket. This Masonic secret writing, art history has be lost to the gun collecting community. My new Winchester Firearm’s “Esoteric” symbolism book will cover Masonic Pig-pen ciphers in-depth, when it will be published and released this summer!
Photographs courtesy of James D. Julia Auctioneers, Fairfield, Maine, USA, http://www.jamesdjulia.com.
EXTREMELY FINE ADAM ERNST YORK COUNTY RELIEF CARVED FLINTLOCK RIFLE. SN NSN. This rifle has a 44-1/4” full oct bbl signed in script: “A. Ernst”. The butt diam is 1.75″. The initials “F.S.” are engraved on the lockplate in small script letters. Kindig speculates these are the initials of Frederick Sell, one of the very great master gunsmiths. In his opinion this superb rifle proves Frederick Sell worked for Adam Ernst. Many of the rifles’ details reveal Sell’s hand in its’ creation. There is unusually fine relief carving to the rear of the ramrod entrance pipe, forward of the patchbox, and to the rear of the bbl tang, beautiful relief carving covers practically all of the cheekpiece side of the stock. The carving is majestically designed and beautifully executed in the rococo style, quoting Kindig it is “Kentucky Rifle carving at its best”. Beautiful curly maple stock carries 12 engraved solid silver inlays including the half-moon on the cheekpiece that is typical of Ernst’s work. The patchbox has five piercings. Most areas of the patchbox are covered with fine engraving which is extremely strong, well executed, and well designed. A unique feature of the patchbox is its release hidden within the engraving design of the upper patchbox sideplate. It is interesting to note this same patchbox release feature is present on the lower panel of the signed ”Friderick Sell” rifle offered for sale in this auction. Around the rear screw of the sideplate is the engraved embryonic bird found on many York County Kentuckys. The well defined high comb contributes to the architectural superiority of this rifle. The cheekpiece side of this rifle is covered with unusually well designed “C” scrolls and cross hatching. Adam Ernst was working in York County, Pa. in 1838, prior to which time he was listed as a gunsmith in Berwick Township, Adams County from 1805-1811. Adam Ernst’s work varies in design, normally featuring a beautifully scrolled trigger with piercings to the rear as present on this rifle. The silver half-moon inlay on the cheekpiece is unique when compared to those found in the same position on rifles by other makers. The face on the moon is engraved with distinct human features. This appears to be the very same rifle pictured on plate #158 of Kindig’s long rifle series book: “Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age”. Accompanied by a copy of a 1972 letter from Joe Kindig III to the consignor’s father describing the rifle as “the finest example of this gunsmith’s work extant” with a fair market value of about $11,000. PROVENANCE: Purchased directly from Joe Kindig Jr. Rifle has remained with the consignor’s family since that time having never been offered for sale nor displayed. CONDITION: The rifle is in remarkably good condition throughout showing only normal and expected age related wear. There is one 3“ by 3/8” wood repair on the right-hand side behind the nosecap and another 1-1/4” by 1/4” sliver wood repair along the bbl on the left hand side forward of the sideplate. A small 1/2” piece of wood is missing to the left of the bbl tang. Appropriate for the most advanced Golden Age collection! 4-40323 RG2 (45,000-65,000)