My Quest to Find Old Guns in Old Homes
Updated: Oct 11, 2020
Known as “The Oldest House in St. Augustine,” the González-Alvarez House dates to 1723. It’s an impressive yet simple structure that blends its original Spanish architecture with English influences as it changed hands over the years.
Being both an enthusiast of historic homes and antique arms, I had hoped to be able to combine both of my interests at this location. After all, a home with almost 300 years of history is bound to have at least one gun, right?
I wasn't disappointed. I spotted a Model 1836 flintlock pistol, and a Civil War-era Smith carbine.
What really caught my eye, though, was a Virginia Manufactory musket in its original flintlock condition (representative example at top; exact gun below this paragraph). Made in Richmond, VA, this particular .69-caliber musket was called a “2nd Model – 3rd Type Musket” and is based off of the Springfield Model 1812 musket. The 3rd type is the only variation from the Virginia Manufactory to feature a brass flashpan. All of the other models used an iron flashpan. Produced from 1818 to 1822, this 1818-dated example is from the first year of production.
The Manufactory made two pistol models, two musket models, and two rifle models between 1801 and 1821. It was reopened 39 years later and produced arms for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
How this musket made its way to St. Augustine, FL, is anybody’s guess, but I’m sure glad it did. You don’t see a ton of these arms floating around, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to see one in this house museum. If you find yourself in the area, be sure to visit. The house is really cool and the locally-operated museum is well-done.
To wrap up, arms from this Richmond-based operation are highly collectible. Based on the condition of this piece, I’d put the value around $5,000.
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