Sunday, April 30, 2017

Author and Kentucky long rifle collector Joe Kindig, Jr. wrote: "Frederick Sell was one of the great masters of Kentucky rifle making. . ." the Sell family "is one of the most important families -- if not the most important family -- of Kentucky rifle makers.

This long rifle has a part round, part octagon barrel with "wedding band" transition signed by Frederick Sell (1781-1869) in a brass banner.  

Early records find Frederick Sell as a single freeman gunsmith in the Borough of York in 1807." By 1816 he was settled in Littletown and appears in records there until 1858. Tax records suggest he was devoted to gunmaking as he owned little else. 
Sell is the presumed son of Jacob Sell (1741-1821) and brother of Jacob (1780-1855); both were talented gunmakers in their own right and certainly greatly influenced one another. Sell adopted the aspects he liked of various other period makers as well to create a conglomerate style that was at once his own yet reflected aspects of many of the most talented Golden Age makers. 
His designs varied greatly which makes him a great maker for collectors and all identified guns by him are beautifully done. The detailed rococo carving has similar attributes to other identified Sell rifles including the example on page 420 of "Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in Its Golden Age."

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