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Hello everyone:

 

I've been trying to research a number of Japanese antiques/collectibles, one of which is a 

Tanegashima gun, when I came across this forum.

 

From the research, it seems this is from Sakai/Osaka region?  But I haven't found anything else with the same physical characteristics.

 

Web page with 15 photos: http://www.nulltime.com/antiques/gun/index.html

 

Hoping someone here may have some insights.

 

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

 

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Sean; what you have here is a matchlock converted to percussion use.

The stock and all the fittings speaks of Sakai, but when I see the picture of the muzzle, I’m quite certain that the original barrel has been replaced with the currant one. The barrel is too short for the stock.

Someone has done it’s best to recycle parts from at least two guns.

 

Jan

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Generally I agree with Jan regarding Sakai, judging by the flamboyant decoration. And yes, the barrel may have been changed at the same time that the conversion to pill or percussion lock was done. That would account for the barrel bands on a gun that should have been held by mekugi originally. The head of the serpentine seems strangely squashed, which could mean several things.

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Jan, Piers, thank you both!

 

The modification & replacement barrel could certainly account for the unusual features that I couldn't find on other examples in my research!  I was surprised by the internal vs more typical external spring.

 

I'm not very familiar with firearms in general, and know nothing about these antiques at all.  Now to find somewhere that I might sell it, though value is bound to be significantly diminished by the modifications & damage.

 

Thank you!  Sean

 

PS. I've added 2 more photos to the page: close-up with hammer cocked & overall showing length (130cm OAL, 100cm barrel).
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Sean,

Thank you for showing us an interesting shooting iron. I am interested in how technology changes and that is what attracts me to these late modifications to Japanese matchlock guns. My opinion is that you gun is much older that the modifications that it shows. As a guess I'd say the gun was made at about 1700 or so, but that the ignition system - and other changes date from something like 1860. This was a moment in world history when firearms were evolving rapidly  and when Japan was under great external threat. They were very interested in percussion cap technology. It was one of the "secrets" that Admiral Perry was specifically asked about. And not incidentally by late 1865, the world was awash is surplus cap lock arms. It was in that window that lots of Japanese gunsmiths explored caplock systems.

Most collectors avoid these modified matchlocks for two reasons" 1) they aren't 'original' , and 2) there are challenges to getting them into Japan. That means their 'value' is not what Japanese collectors will pay.

Bottom line, these guns interestingly reflect a moment in Japanese and world history.

Peter

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Peter, sorry for the late reply. I don't get notifications from this forum, perhaps that's normal.

 

Thank you so much for the detailed information!  The dating in particular is excellent!

 

I would not have realized this was a modification without the help from everyone here. I'm still perplexed as to where and how a percussion cap would fit though, but there may be a missing part.

 

Also hoping to find someone who can appreciate it for what it is (such as yourself) to provide a new home.

 

Sean

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Sean,

Thank you for following up. And I agree with Piers that it sure looks like the nipple is missing. I suppose that it could be this gun was set up for some manner of "pill" or some other alternative to a percussion cap. In fact, this gun look like it is pretty highly machined and "designed" so it might be a specialty.

Now, selling such things follows the old cowboy axiom, "Going out on the buffalo range, depends upon the pay.." You could put a price out there and see if you get any takers. A couple of these did sell - rather slowly IMHO- here in NMB in the past year. Check the files to see how they went.

Peter

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The price is always right when you get someone to pay it. As Peter says, percussion conversions usually sells at a lower price compared to unaltered matchlocks. Partly because the original weapon has been modified. But the quality of the modification, also plays an important part. I’ve seen really bad conversion, that more or less ruined the gun. But I have also seen signed conversions of the highest quality. The latter is, at least in my mind, more historically ”correct” and warrant a higher price.

The conversion on this specific gun is somewhat odd with obvious parts missing. But the major problem with it, is the fact that the barrel and stock is orginally from two different matchlocks.

I can see this gun being ”brought together” during the late 19th century and used for hunting. The stock with the decorations, looks middle to late Edo period. The barrel, well, that can be pretty much anything.

 

Jan

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I'm getting notifications now, but then the board went offline for a while!  It figures.

Gentlemen, thank you for your advice & recommendations!

Given its condition & missing parts, I have no illusions about value, and not expecting to "get rich" from the sale.  I just don't have the room to keep it any longer, and want to see it go to someone who might appreciate it.

There's a large regional gun show coming up this weekend.  I'll take it there first to see what may be offered.

Thanks!

Sean

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