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  • The Roadshow Archive

    American Musket, ca. 1795

    Appraised Value:


    Appraised on: July 9, 2011

    Appraised in: Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Appraised by: Christopher Mitchell

    Category: Arms & Militaria

    Episode Info: Minneapolis, Hour 2 (#1617)

    Originally Aired: May 14, 2012

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 2 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Musket
    Material: Metal, Wood
    Period / Style: 18th Century
    Value Range: $1,000

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    Appraisal Video: (2:31)


    Appraised By:

    Christopher Mitchell
    Arms & Militaria
    J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: It's a family heirloom that apparently had passed down through generations, and it was sitting in a closet until I came down here to the Roadshow today.

    APPRAISER: Okay, what kind of stories came along with it?

    GUEST: There's quite a few stories as we were trying to trace the history of the gun. It's possibly a couple of different relatives, one of which was on the monument at Bunker Hill.

    APPRAISER: So it's always been assumed that this gun was used in the American Revolution.

    GUEST: Yes.

    APPRAISER: One of the reasons you would think that is by what we're going to find here on this little silver escutcheon. We're going to see the initials "DN," and then it's dated 1777.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: Now, did you have a relative that was in the American Revolution that possibly could have had those initials?

    GUEST: Not those particular initials.

    APPRAISER: It's unusual in the fact that this gun is American stocked. It's got European parts, but it's American wood. It's actually got a pretty patina. It's a right found-out-of-the-attic gun, which collectors really like. It used to have a stock that went the entire length of the barrel, with a nose cap, two more finials, and then at some point someone wanted to make it into a shotgun, so they've cut the stock back, and then made it lighter, and something that they could hunt with.

    GUEST: I see.

    APPRAISER: And it's because it is a smooth bore. People who are in the trade and collectors, we all realize that nothing can actually be any older than its latest original feature. If we turn the gun over on this side, we're going to see this side plate right here.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: That's a side plate off a third model Brown Bess. The third model Brown Bess doesn't come out until the 1790s.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: It's a part that's absolutely original to this gun and the way that it's been built, so we know it changes the date to where it has to be made after that. And there's a couple of things that could give us a reason why this plaque is here. In 1876, when we had the Centennial, everybody desired to have something that was used in the American Revolution that belonged to a relative.

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: And the story probably grew up around this gun that it was the one that was used during the war. But it is important to know that the way this gun is built, it could not have been used in the Revolution. So I do think this is a commemorative plaque, and someone thought this was the gun that was being used.

    GUEST: I see.

    APPRAISER: That affects the value. It's very decorative. I know it has a tremendous amount of sentimental value. Retail, you might expect this gun to bring around $1,000.

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

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