Rock Island Auction Company

Premiere Auction

Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company - 1849-Rifle

Lot 1221
Sold for
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Estimated Price: $9,500 - $16,000
Rare Sharps Model 1849 Rifle
Serial # ManufacturerSharps Rifle Manufacturing Company Model1849-Rifle
TypeRifle Gauge44 Catalog Page223
Barrel Length30 Inch Octagon FinishBrown Grip
Stockwalnut ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is an example of a Sharps Model 1849 Rifle (a.k.a. 1st Model Sharps) that was manufactured by Albert S. Nippes of Mill Creek, Pennsylvania, for Christian Sharps in 1849. Very few Sharps Model 1849 Rifles were manufactured; estimates of total production range from 50-150 rifles. The rifle features the distinctive brass circular disk automatic capping device on the right side of the breech. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped: "MANUFACTURED/BY/A.S. NIPPES/ PHILADA PA" in four lines behind the rear sight. "C.SHARPS/PATENT/1848" is stamped in three lines on the top of the breech. The serial number, "155" is stamped on the top barrel flat. The consigner states that all of the rifle serial numbers match. The 30-inch full octagon barrel has two iron cleaning rod pipes; the lower pipe is fitted with a sling swivel. The rifle has a hickory cleaning rod with brass tip. The barrel has a dove-tail mounted front sight with brass blade and dove-tail mounted sporting style rear sight. The action has an iron trigger guard with separate breech lever that curves over the guard. The elongated lock plate has a curved profile. The stock is fitted with a large iron patch box on the right side at the butt and a smaller iron patch or cap box in the center of the left side of the stock. The stock has an iron buttplate and is fitted with a sling swivel. The walnut forearm has a brass tip and is secured by a wedge and screw. There is a brass screw escutcheon for the capping device on the left side of the forearm. A small, nickel-silver plate is inlaid into the right side of the forearm behind the wedge. The barrel is browned and the receiver, patch boxes and butt plate appear to have a casehardened finish.

ConditionGood. The barrel has a brown patina with traces of the original finish. The barrel edges are sharp. The markings on the barrel and receiver are crisp. The hammer, receiver, lock plate, trigger guard, lever, patch boxes, and buttplate have a mottled silver-gray patina. All the metal surfaces are smooth and free from pitting. There is some shallow flash pitting on the percussion nipple and surrounding portions of the bolster. The bore is bright. The brass primer, forearm tip and screw escutcheon have an attractive un-polished patina. The stock and forearm are in good condition. Three inlays on the stock have been removed and filled. The repairs are only visible with close inspection. This is a solid example of a rare and highly prized 1st Model Sharps Rifle. This rare and important rifle would be a standout piece in any collection of 19th Century American firearms.
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