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Old 18th December 2013, 12:05 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default A Very Rare ca. 1645 Westphalian (Schloss Dyck) Flintlock Wallgun

I bought it from Christie's auction of the complete contents of the Salm-Reifferscheidt Armory, part I, on April 15, 1992, lot 48.

There were three almost identical pieces, plus a few more in the second part of the sale to follow half a year later, so I chose the best preserved, and the only one with a complete lock mechanism and a perfect action; I remember it made an enormously banging sound when I cocked it to both the half- and full-cock position respectively. It was great fun, really, and I kept it in my collection for about ten years. And it was among the few Schloss Dyck pieces that had escaped the crude acid-cleaning action during the 1960's because they were too plain and 'not worth the toil' - luckily ...

The catalog description stated some incorrect facts, among them that the lock was held by three screws (sidenails). It was held by two crews only, the one in the center was a large transversal pin fixing the stock to the rear barrel loop. Another thing incorrectly stated was that the trigger guard of my gun was a replacement; it was the original!

The most interesting thing about it was the fact that it reused a recycled Nuremberg matchlock wallgun barrel of about 100 years earlier, ca. 1540, a three-staged barrel, octagonal-round-octagonal and with a pronounced wall hook protruding from its underside. The former top plate had been removed from the square-tubular backsight. The stock was made of walnut, in the French manner, whereas for Germany and the Thirty-Years War period one would have expected either beechwood, oak or ash.

Overall length 159 cm, barrel length 112.4 cm, cal.ca. 20 mm smoothbore, weight ca. 13 kg.



Enjoy, and please note the characteristic position of both the cock and steel (frizzen) for the half- and full-cocked positions respectively on one of the earliest 'military' flintlocks ever built!
The image of the flint cock in the full-cock position and the frizzen open shows the big touch hole with what was the remains of an originally dovetailed igniting pan and swiveling pivoted pan cover of ca. 1540 that of course had to be removed for the new stock and lock.
The flat lock parts are an early characteristic of the era before ca. 1650, and so is the wide-open frizzen in its forward safety position.


The price situation at the two Schloss Dyck sales in 1992 was horrible, almost all pieces went for literally nothing. And - it was even harder to resell them years later; many of their prices fell way behind those that they fetched at the initial sale ...
That was not fair in any way because there were some extremely rare and good guns and fine pieces of accouterment among them. But I am afraid it was the sheer mass impact of so many hundred similar pieces being sold from the same source where they had been all their 'life', for hundreds of years. The prices of standard quality wheellock and flintlock sporting guns dropped into a bottomless pit in the years to follow. They seem to be on their way to recovery only now, 20 years later.




Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 18th December 2013 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 18th December 2013, 12:21 PM   #2
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More.
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Old 18th December 2013, 12:31 PM   #3
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Even more.
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Last edited by Matchlock : 18th December 2013 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 18th December 2013, 12:33 PM   #4
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And one more close-up of the muzzle.

Best,
Michael
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