Richard Wilson antique flintlock pistol 1730's

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by vytautus, May 9, 2010.

  1. vytautus

    vytautus New Member

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    May 9, 2010
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    I just picked this up and after a good cleaning this is the name I came up with on it. From what I found the pair that belonged to George Washington in the West Point collection are proofed the same as this one and are made by the same maker. The barrel address and engraving are similar on the barrels however George's are brass and this one is steel. This looks like a cheaper model of the same gun. I also read that Wilson guns were heavily imported to Colonial America along with Hawkins. There are some surviving orders. From what I have seen the pistols were imported less than the rifles and fowlers. That is what I know about it.
    I was wondering if anyone has ever seen another one of these or how many have turned up? I also was wondering what I should do with it reconvert it to flintlock or just get a hammer and leave as it was converted 180 years ago? Does anyone have any parts for these hammer, Frizzen, spring and pan? I think Hawkins should work because Washington's have Hawkin's locks installed even though they are made buy Wilson. Any help appreciated thanks

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  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    British pistols of that era are not lying around on the street, but they are not exceedingly rare, either. IMHO, trying to restore it would amount to a career, and would cost more in time, effort and parts than the pistol would be worth in the end. Now, if it could be traced to George W. (the original, not Bush), it would be a different story, but that is my two cents worth right now.

    There are restorers of that type of gun, and a Google search might find some. Then, you could send pictures and get an estimate. Contacting some appraisers, plus checking auctions, should get you an idea of the current value. But be warned that professional appraisers get paid no matter what their valuation is, so you may have to shell out money up front. (I work for nothing, and that is what my appraisal is worth!)

    Jim
  3. vytautus

    vytautus New Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
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    You are correct they are not exceedingly rare in general. London guns are rarer than Birmingham etc. The problem I have is I have found exactly 2 of these,online in as many nights worth of google searching, both Washington's. None it seems turn up in the UK and there they are considered rare. There is one guy who has written a complete history on R. Wilson. It is an interesting read:
    http://asoac.org/bulletins/85_bailey_wilsons.pdf
    This gun came from NJ, In the history of Wilson there is an order from NJ to him that still exists for 50 brass mounted pistols!
    I do not want to do a full restoration just want to source the original lock parts and put it back to its 18th century configuration. Washing off 200 years of history, in my book is a no no. I believe they never should have restored Washington's back in the 1970's. They went so far as to add a length of stock to the front of one. One of his looked like the one I have before the restoration and was confirmed lost and then returned to him after a battle. Battle damage makes the gun more interesting I think.
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