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Premiere Auction

Elgin Cutlass - C B Allen Cutlass

Lot 1154
Sold for
Full Screen
Estimated Price: $15,000 - $25,000
Rare and Historic U.S. Navy Elgin Cutlass Pistol Serial Number 58
Serial # ManufacturerElgin Cutlass ModelC B Allen Cutlass
TypePistol Gauge54 Percussion Catalog Page233
Barrel Length5 Inch Octagonal FinishBright GripWalnut
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is a rare example of one of the 150 cutlass pistols that was manufactured by C.B. Allen of Springfield, Massachusetts in 1837 for the U.S. Navy. These unique combination guns were purchased by the Navy to arm the famous Wilkes South Seas Exploring Expedition. The mission of the Wilkes Expedition was to explore and map heretofore unknown islands in the South Pacific. Elgin Cutlass Pistols were used in defense of a landing party attacked by hostile natives in the Fiji islands. On July 24, 1840, Midshipman Wilkes Henry was killed using a cutlass/pistol to cover the retreat of a landing party. The U.S. Navy Elgin Cutlass Pistol has the distinction of being the only combination gun ever issued to the U.S. military. The pistol features a massive, 11.5-inch, Bowie-type blade made by N.P. Ames. The blade has an integral trigger and knuckle guard and is attached to the underside of the smoothbore, octagon, pistol barrel by a tongue and groove with two screws. The box lock action is fitted with a one-piece walnut grip. The top barrel flat is stamped "ELGINS/PATENT" in two lines parallel to the bore followed by "CRA/PM/1837" stamped perpendicular to the bore. The left side of the frame is stamped: "C.B. ALLEN/SPRINGFIELD/MASS." in three lines. The serial number, "58" is stamped on the left barrel flat, the adjacent section of the frame and on the left side of the Bowie blade. The inspection marks, date and serial number identify this pistol as one of the 150 Elgin Cutlass/Pistols issued to the Wilkes Expedition.

ConditionVery good. The pistol is completely original as once cleaned many years ago. The action, barrel and massive Bowie-type blade have a silver-gray patina with scattered patches of age discoloration and light pitting. The bag-shaped walnut grip is in good condition with scattered, minor handling marks. The manufacturer's barrel and frame markings, the U.S. Navy inspection marks and date and the serial numbers are all sharp. The action is crisp and functions perfectly. This is a very good example of a rare and historic U.S. Navy Elgin Cutlass Pistol. This unique combination pistol would be a standout piece in the most advanced U.S. martial arms collection.
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