Published: January 25, 2022
NEW YORK CITY — At press time, Sotheby’s had finished selling just two of its three sales of Americana: the collections of Mr & Mrs Peter Pfaffenroth, and William K. du Pont. Americana from various owners was still to come. However, in the two sales that had finished, exactly 900 lots had been offered for a combined total of $8.4 million. The highest price that had been realized so far was $201,600, for a flintlock American long rifle, made by Martin Fry III (1769-1841) of York, Penn., circa 1790, that blew away its $40/60,000 estimate. From du Pont’s collection, the gun, which featured a 54¼-inch barrel, 14 silver inlays and a large four-piece pierced and engraved patchbox, had been acquired from dealer and gun expert Joe Kindig Jr. Not only had the gun been illustrated in Joe Kindig, Jr’s 1960 text, Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in Its Golden Age, but the catalog referenced correspondence between du Pont and Kindig, in which Kindig considered it to have been among the best of American long rifles of its period. Joe III also believed it to be the best York School gun in du Pont’s collection, which saw a sell-through rate of 99.2 percent and a total of $6,933,844
A recap of all of Sotheby’s Americana sales will be included in a forthcoming issue.
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