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    Early 19th-Century Welcome Mathewson Rifle & Powderhorn

    Appraised Value:

    $100,000 - $120,000

    Appraised on: June 18, 2005

    Appraised in: Providence, Rhode Island

    Appraised by: William Guthman

    Category: Arms & Militaria

    Episode Info: Simply the Best (#1419)
    Providence, Hour 1 (#1013)

    Originally Aired: May 8, 2006

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 2 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Powder Horn, Rifle, Document
    Material: Metal, Bone, Wood, Paper, Silver
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $100,000 - $120,000

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    Appraisal Video: (2:50)


    Appraised By:

    William Guthman
    Arms & Militaria

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: This is my great-great-great-great-grandfather's rifle, which he made in a gun shop right across the street from where I now live. It's never been out of the family. I've known it and admired it ever since I was a small child and my grandfather showed it to me. It's part of our family history. And I'd just like to know a little bit more about it.

    APPRAISER: And the horn was his horn?

    GUEST: The horn was his horn as well.

    APPRAISER: And the book was his account book?

    GUEST: Yep, the book is his daybook. There are two more in existence which I don't have possession of. But this is the first one, we believe.

    APPRAISER: Okay, well, his name was Welcome Mathewson, and Welcome Mathewson is one of the premier gunsmiths in New England in the early 19th century. His guns are very desirable and very rare. I only know of two or three others. It has his name "W. Mathewson" here. We have wonderful silver inlay and silver escutcheon here, and here. A nice horse head patch box and there's silver along here. It's cherry stocked, it's untouched. It's really as fine as you can get. This is a powderhorn. It was his powderhorn.

    GUEST: Yep.

    APPRAISER: It's signed "Welcome Mathewson, 1812."

    GUEST: Yep.

    APPRAISER: It's beautifully decorated. I have never, ever had a powderhorn and a rifle that belonged to the same person and the person being a maker as famous as Welcome Mathewson. And here is his account book. Welcome Mathewson, 1806, and it's the account of the work he did from 1806 to, I think, about 1809.

    GUEST: Yeah.

    APPRAISER: Repairing guns, making guns. So what you have here is probably the rarest and finest thing I've ever seen brought into this show. I've ever seen anywhere. Welcome Mathewson is a maker that any collector of New England rifles would like to have, and to have his powderhorn with it... Do you have any idea at all of the value?

    GUEST: I have absolutely no idea. I've seen horns, I actually have seen you appraise horns, just the horn by itself, and my jaw dropped then, but I've never really thought about it, except for insurance.

    APPRAISER: If I had this, and I was going to offer it, the package, I'd want $100,000, $120,000 for it.

    GUEST: Wow.

    APPRAISER: I really would. I mean, you're never going to see anything like this again. I won't, I never expect to. It's just great. And I thank you so much for bringing it in--

    GUEST: Well, thank you very much.

    APPRAISER: --and taking such good care of it.

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