Joseph Perkins Rifle Barrel
Appraised Value: $1,500
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:04)
GUEST: My dad found this barrel in a corner of a barn that was about ready to be tore down.
APPRAISER: Where was the barn?
GUEST: The barn was in Morris, Illinois.
APPRAISER: And you thought it was an interesting barrel.
GUEST: Yeah, I thought it was really neat. Immediately, I could tell it was an octagon-around barrel, and I'm a re-enactor, so I was interested and I just wanted to clean it up a little bit, so I just started cleaning it.
APPRAISER: Let me tell you, it's really a fascinating barrel, and it's got so much on it. First of all, it has the name of the maker.
APPRAISER: And that's J. Perkins.
APPRAISER: That was Joseph Perkins. And Joseph Perkins started out at Rappahannock Forge in Virginia in 1776, which was a famous Revolutionary War armory. Then he moved to Philadelphia, and he worked on guns in Philadelphia until he went to New London, Virginia, where he was master armorer and then he went to Harper's Ferry where he was master armorer in 1803. So he had quite a history.
APPRAISER: This must've been one heck of a gun. I wish you had the whole thing, but you got plenty.
GUEST: That was all there was.
APPRAISER: You've got an American eagle.
APPRAISER: That's a really early, frog-legged eagle.
APPRAISER: Dates this barrel to the late 18th century.
APPRAISER: And then you've got his name.
APPRAISER: And then you've got little animals and crosshatching. It's really... It's a document. It's engraved like a horn.
APPRAISER: And it must have been a super fowling piece.
APPRAISER: And have you any idea what it's worth?
GUEST: No, actually, I have no idea.
APPRAISER: Well, I've never seen anything like it, and it's hard to put a value on it.
APPRAISER: But as a document of early American gunsmithing, you've got all this wonderful engraving on it.
APPRAISER: I think that if I saw it, I'd grab it for $1,500 in a second.
APPRAISER: I really would.
GUEST: Unreal. That's great.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.