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"Man pleads guilty to 1971 theft of Revolutionary War" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2021 4:19 p.m. PST

…flintlock rifle

"The man responsible for the theft of a rare Revolutionary War flintlock rifle from the visitor center of the Valley Forge State Park in Pennsylvania in 1971 has pleaded guilty to the crime. Seventy-eight-year-old Thomas Gavin turns out to have been a sort of Pennsylvania Lupin who cut an impressive swath through museum weapons collections in the 1960s and 70s.

John Christian Oerter was the premier gun maker in Christian's Spring, a Moravian settlement near what is now Nazareth, Pennsylvania, that was the main production center of flintlock long rifles during the Revolutionary War. His firearms feature distinctive silver and brass wire inlays and high quality wood carving that make them some of the most important pieces from the period. Very few of his works survive, and the stolen 1775 long rifle is one of only two signed and dated guns by the master riflemaker known to exist. It is now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. The other is in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, presented to the future King George IV by Colonel George Hanger, a British cavalry officer who had served in the Revolutionary War…"

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Armand

William Warner24 Jul 2021 4:42 p.m. PST

Quite a shocking story. As a former museum curator it makes me sick to think about it. Unfortunately there aren't enough years left if the perpetrator's life to give him the punishment he deserves.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2021 3:26 p.m. PST

Agree!


Armand

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2021 5:08 p.m. PST

Different thought process back then. A friend of my father's had a magnificent collection of Civil War weapons, uniforms, etc. He got them in the 1960s when the Chrysler museum in Norfolk, VA threw their collection in the Elizabeth River when they switched from a history museum to an art museum.

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