Early 19th-Century Welcome Mathewson Rifle & Powderhorn
Appraised Value: $100,000 - $120,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:50)
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.
APPRAISER: It's signed "Welcome Mathewson, 1812."
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.
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.
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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