This story just broke on NPR:
Thomas Gavin may be one of the most prolific artifact thieves in U.S. history… Gavin’s crime spree was so under the radar, no one caught on until 2018, when he tried to unload a rare, Revolutionary-era rifle to a local antiques dealer…It wasn’t just any old gun, but one of the few surviving rifles made by master gunsmith John Christian Oerter.
Quite a tale there. Take a couple of minutes to read it, and then a few more to feast your eyes on a rare beauty…
According to The Kentucky Rifle Foundation:
John Christian Oerter (1747-1777) was a gunsmith at the early gunmaking center of Christian Springs (PA); he succeeded Andreas Albrecht as master gunsmith here in 1771 and served in this capacity until his death.