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Auction Date: November 30, 2012

Lot 1070: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company - 1874-Rifle

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Very Rare Important Unique Factory Special Order Heavy Barrel Scoped Sharps Model 1874 Sporting Rifle with Documentation
Estimated Price: $37,500 - $55,000
Item Views 253 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company  - 1874-Rifle ManufacturerSharps Rifle Manufacturing Company Model1874-Rifle
TypeRifle Gauge40-2 1-2 Catalog Page37
Barrel34 Inch Octagon FinishBlue/casehardened Grip
Stockwalnut ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThe accompanying copy of the factory letter states, this "is one of the best known of all Sharps rifles" and it appears in Order Book #7 listed as a Sporting Rifle. It is the heaviest Sharps Model 1874 octagon barrel rifle ever made. It was made for James Dodds, a dealer in guns and tools from Cincinnati. Dodds also ordered and received the heaviest round barrel Model 1874 rifle. It was the same length and weight but was in 45/ 90 caliber. Both of these 22-pound rifles are illustrated on page 224 of "Sharps Firearms" by Frank Sellers (where they were called Twenty-Five Pound Rifles). This rifle was ordered by Dodds January 25, 1879, to weigh 22 pounds with double set triggers, open sights and with oil finished wood. It was invoiced at the Bridgeport factory on March 24, 1879 to James Dodds. This obviously was not a standard rifle and took the two months to assemble it. The action was originally shipped as a Mid-Range No. 1 Rifle September 30, 1876. This is verified by the plugged holes in the tang. (The Mid-Range barrel is on an "A" rifle.) The numbers match on the frame, barrel, and forearm. The buttstock and shotgun style buttplate are numbered 1817 and the double set trigger plate is numbered 9722. The barrel is over 1.550 inches across the flats at the muzzle, 1.6 inches at the breech. The receiver is thinner than the barrel, which has caused some wear, both to the barrel and forearm, from the lever pin which pivots on the plane of the receiver. The barrel has standard marks on the top flat with "Old Reliable" in an octagonal box towards the muzzle, followed by "SHARPS RIFLE CO. BRIDGEPORT, CONN.". The left flat of the barrel is marked "CAL . 40 2 1/2" near the breech. "SHARPS RIFLE CO/PAT APR 6 1869" is stamped on the left side of the receiver. This patent was by Richard S. Lawrence and covered the new lock work on the cartridge models starting in that year but was not recognized until 1876 when the company reorganized and moved to Bridgeport. The telescope mounted on the rifle is also interesting. It is unmarked and 30 inches in length. A seven inch brass extension has been made to fit the mounts which are in the same dovetail cuts as the original sights. The rear scope mount is very unusual. The side wheels, slightly over an inch in diameter, have spiral cuts on the inner surfaces which fit over pins on the fixed base. The scope ring, to which the rings are affixed, is raised as the spiral rides on the pins. Mounted with a smooth walnut forearm and straight grip stock with a flat checkered buttplate. Certainly one of the rarest Sharps rifles to be offered at public auction.

ConditionExcellent. The barrel retains 90% thinning original blue finish with areas of smooth brown patina and wear on the edges. The frame, breechblock, lock plate and hammer show 75% original case colors, brighter in the protected areas. The lever and tangs have a smooth brown patina with hints of the case colors. The wood is also excellent with a old minor crack repair on the top right side of the wrist and overall a few minor dings and handling marks, and some minor chips at the end of the trigger plate. The telescope is fine with 70% blue finish and a mottled patina on the brass extension. The optics are fine. The rubber eyepiece has broken off and is with the rifle. A very nice, very rare special order, unique heavy barrel Sharps Model 1874 Sporting Rifle.
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