Japanese Rampart Gun, ca. 1850
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:18)
Arms & Militaria
Bonhams & Butterfields, SF
GUEST: I bought it at an antique shop here ten, 12 years ago. Well, I was actually looking for a Kentucky rifle to hang above our fireplace. And I spotted this, and then I purchased it and took it home, and that's what hangs above our fireplace mantel today.
APPRAISER: You must have a very large fireplace mantel, then.
GUEST: It's a pretty good size.
APPRAISER: Where did you get the photograph?
GUEST: Actually, the guy at the antique shop had that with it when I bought it. What he told me is after he bought the gun, that he was at a yard sale here in Rapid City and going through postcards, and he found this postcard that he thought, "Oh, this looks like the gun that I have."
APPRAISER: So both the gun and the postcard come from the Rapid City area?
GUEST: Yes, it did.
APPRAISER: And the guy's name on the photograph is called Klondike Scotty. What do we know about Klondike Scotty?
GUEST: We don't know anything about him, but the gun was used as a photo prop.
APPRAISER: I looked closely at the photograph. I'm convinced that it's exactly the same gun.
APPRAISER: And I don't even know if there was a Klondike Scotty.
GUEST: Well, yeah, probably not.
APPRAISER: Right here at the top, of the breech of the barrel, are some indistinct characters. You can barely read them. Have you seen them before?
GUEST: No, I haven't noticed them.
APPRAISER: Well, they're Japanese.
APPRAISER: And it was from the form of the lock of the gun I would date it to the mid-19th century. And it was probably used to defend a castle. It's a wall gun.
APPRAISER: So the shoguns in Japan would have defended their castles with these types of very long guns. And so when you had these armies of samurai charging the castle, the idea was to have these very long, heavy guns, which would increase the range of their ability to defend the castle.
GUEST: Oh, that's very interesting.
APPRAISER: Well, what did you pay for the gun?
GUEST: I paid $3,000 for it when I bought it.
APPRAISER: I believe that that was probably a fair value that you paid. If I had this at auction today, I would put a value of about $3,000 to $5,000. But I could see a retailer asking a little more than $6,000 for it.
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