Custom German Schuetzen Rifle, ca. 1840
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (3:47)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: I got this gun from my father-in-law. He obtained it in Germany in 1946. World War II was ending, and they were trying to clean up the area around Munich. So they were going door to door, house to house, and looking for escaping enemy soldiers. He went to one hotel that had mostly been bombed out, but in the basement he found a German soldier who was holding a rifle on the hotel owner and was about to shoot him.
GUEST: All he would tell us was he secured the situation.
GUEST: The hotel owner went to a closet and pulled down this gun and presented it to my father-in-law in appreciation for saving his life.
APPRAISER: Right. Well, I noticed one of the first things when you brought it in, it says, "F. Baader in Munchen," "in Munich," so the gun's made in Munich. Did you ever take the time to look into who this Baader may have been?
GUEST: From what we can determine, that's Franz Xaver Baader, who was master gunsmith to Ludwig I, the king of Bavaria.
APPRAISER: Okay, okay.
GUEST: And in 1840 is when we believe this gun was made.
APPRAISER: Right, well, what this gun is commonly referred to is a schuetzen rifle, which is a Germanic target rifle. They had huge clubs where guys would go around and they'd smoke their pipes and they'd shoot their rifles and their parlor pistols. And it was a very, very popular thing. So, we're definitely dealing with a non-military gun. It is a gun that was made for somebody probably of royal personage. If we look at the lock, there's a gold inlaid cameo there, and that's solid gold. Back here, on the patch box, it's also another solid gold inlay. But what's even really kind of maybe not more special but still very special is all of this is silver that's been cut out, chiseled and hammered in and then finished over. It's very expensive, very extensive, very time-consuming process to do that. If you look out on the barrel, we're going to see where they've gone in and inlaid the barrel in silver. And it's done all the way out on the end again. No real reason for it, other than to show the art of the embellisher. If we turn it to the side, we'll see that the maker is done in solid gold, and that's a very expensive feature. And look where these... these almost look like the sights are supposed to pop up, but they're not. It's just three-dimensional work that they've done just to show how great that they could do the metalwork. Also, at the back of the breech, we have another gold inlay. And then all of this, again, is done in hammered silver. And we turn this gun over, and it really, really starts to pop. If you have a look at this butt stock, I mean that is just an embellishment that's done by somebody who is a highly trained, super professional furniture carver. You don't have to like guns or be a firearm collector to know that this is a very special-- a very, very special thing.
GUEST: We've always considered it just a piece of art. We had no idea anybody would ever have shot it.
APPRAISER: Well, I do think this gun was meant to be fired, and it's actually... The expression of the arms maker, the carver, but also of the owner, because he's showing his rank and what he can have done. Because there are hundreds of thousands of schuetzen rifles in different degrees of embellishment or quality. But most of them are really utilitarian. And they don't really command a lot of money. But this is a different animal altogether because of the quality. When we think about this gun for a retail price, I believe that this might do $15,000 to $20,000. It's that much difference in the quality. It's a very, very beautiful gun.
GUEST: Thank you.
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