Korean Matchlock Musket, ca. 1800

Value (2010) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
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GUEST:
My grandparents were missionaries in Korea from 1890 to 1908.

APPRAISER:
Wow.

GUEST:
And, uh, this is something that my grandfather purchased ostensibly from a Korean tiger hunter.

APPRAISER:
This is just before the fall of the dynasty, around 1911...

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
When the Japanese occupied the country, which was a very, very sensitive time for the Korean people...

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Because they were under enormous pressure from the Japanese...

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And were looking for any kind of foreign help to help them out of the situation they were involved in.

GUEST:
I see.

APPRAISER:
And things like this were coming up on the market at the time, but it's an exceptional rarity. I've only seen guns like this in books.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
I've never actually seen one in person.

GUEST:
Interesting.

APPRAISER:
And it is a matchlock.

GUEST:
Is it?

APPRAISER:
Yeah. And it used to have, up here, a cord that would have been soaked in saltpeter...

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And then lit on fire.

GUEST:
Oh, interesting.

APPRAISER:
Hardwood stock, handmade barrel, very, very early form of gun.

GUEST:
Is that right?

APPRAISER:
And the Koreans just kept this model basically because it worked.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And in terms of it coming from a tiger hunter, highly probable.

GUEST:
Is that right?

APPRAISER:
Highly probable.

GUEST:
Interesting.

APPRAISER:
You're not going to be picking off sparrows with something like this. This gun is probably 19th century, even 18th century.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
I would say, conservatively, at auction, the estimate would be, like, $3,000 to $5,000 on this gun.

GUEST:
Is that right?

APPRAISER:
The Korean market has a tendency to fluctuate wildly. This is the kind of thing, in the end, I wouldn't be surprised if retail on a gun like this was $10,000 or $15,000.

GUEST:
Really? Well, thank you. I've wondered for years what kind of gun it was, and uh, when it might have been made.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
James D. Julia Auctioneers
Fairfield, ME
Appraised value (2010)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Event
Washington, DC (August 21, 2010)
Form
Musket
Material
Metal, Wood

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