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sportster73hp

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At $5000 for restoration is this to shootable or just cosmetic to then put on display. If it were worth $60,000 I would be afraid of shooting and breaking it.
 

NCGoober

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I wonder if the seller knew what they had or if they're still recovering from a heart attack at the hammer price.

By the description, name mis-spelling, and the question mark it seems like the seller was clueless and the crappy pictures backs that up.

Description
BARREL, SIGNED J. TERRELL? BROKEN STOCK, GUN AS IS, SOME MISSING PIECES
 

poker

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By the description, name mis-spelling, and the question mark it seems like the seller was clueless and the crappy pictures backs that up.

Description
BARREL, SIGNED J. TERRELL? BROKEN STOCK, GUN AS IS, SOME MISSING PIECES

Not necessarily so. Many antiques are squirreled away where nobody knows about them. Unless you were highly familiar with old firearms, you would likely think it was just a pile of rusty junk. Id guess 99% of the auctioneers in the country wouldn’t know much at all about antique firearms. And likely it was an estate auction where the heirs didn’t either.
 

120RIR

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I stumbled across this forum and specifically this topic this afternoon. I'm the crazy guy who knew precisely what he was doing and consider myself crazy lucky to have won this auction. Rich Pierce hit the nail on the head as to why this seeming train wreck went for such a relatively high price. I say "relatively" because another very early rifle recently went for around $300k and it was in need of some comparable restoration. This Ferree rifle and that rifle were apples and oranges in many respects but y'all get the general point. Had this rifle been listed by a much more prominent auction house and/or one that caters to specialized collectors (e.g., Morphy's, Rock Island Auction, etc.), I'm pretty sure the gavel would have come down on a much, much higher price. As it was, I'm sure the auctioneer and especially the consigner (or is it "consignor"?) were quite surprised.
 

nchawkeye

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Please let us know if you do restore it and let us see the finished product...Congrats!!!
 

120RIR

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Restoration done. It was a "minimal" style...simply replaced the forestock, replaced and wood around tang, restored to flint configuration which was easy considering it had a replaceable pan, a new patchbox lid and some simple oiling of the wood to bring out a little color and give it a warm glow. All of the original remaining finish was left untouched, dings, chips, and splinters left in as-found condition, and he did not weld the hole from the percussion drum but instead did some very effective and extraordinarily clever peening of old iron and an incredible job of matching patina. Someday, if someone wanted, all they have to do is ease out the plug, remove the pan/frizzen/spring, and pop in all the old parts which I'm saving (e.g., hammer and drum/nipple). It's a slender, graceful and simple rifle but all agree early (ca. 1770) and spectacular and so far, the only fully signed example of his work. There are several rifles signed "J. Ferree" out there but there is some debate as to whether they are from Joel, or his nephew Jakob who was working post-war. The entire restoration process wasn't nearly as simple as I make it out to be, but it was accomplished by highly regarded John Robbins here on the Left Coast. I doubt anyone else could have done such a skilled, well-researched, believable, and nit-picky job!
 

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