Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1040: North & Cheney 1799 Pistol 69 bore

Auction Date: December 2, 2011

Extremely Rare U.S. Model 1799 North & Cheney Flintlock Pistol with Authentication Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $55,000 - $85,000

Extremely Rare U.S. Model 1799 North & Cheney Flintlock Pistol with Authentication Letter

Manufacturer: North & Cheney
Model: 1799
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 69 bore
Barrel: 8 5/16 inch
Finish: bright
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 2595
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 177
Class: Antique

This is an original ex Model 1799 Flintlock Pistol manufactured by Simeon North and Elisha Cheney in Berlin, Connecticut, between 1799 and 1802. The Model 1799 Pistol was the first official model of pistol adopted by the United States. Patterned after the French Model 1777 pistol, approximately 2000 U.S. Model 1799 pistols were manufactured in two contracts. Original examples of the Model 1799 Pistol are extremely rare and are considered to be one of the great prizes in American firearms collections. The pistol has the distinctive round, iron barrel with no front sight, brass frame, trigger guard and buttcap and one-piece walnut handle. The ramrod is mounted on the right side of the frame. "S. NORTH & E.CHENEY BERLIN" is stamped in an arched curve on the bottom of the frame on the right side of the trigger guard. The top of the barrel is stamped "PV/US" in two lines ahead of the tang. This pistol was examined by U.S. flintlock pistol expert James M. Wertenberger who provided a detailed, three-page, piece by piece, evaluation of the pistol; The evaluation accompanies the pistol. The evaluation states: (1) the barrel length is within the correct range for Model 1799 pistols, (2) the "PV/US" markings are the correct die stamp and in the proper position, (3) the serial number, "518", is the correct size and style, (4) the barrel is in the original flintlock configuration, (5) all the screws with the exception of the lower butt screw and frame screw are original, (6) the external lock parts are correct, (7) the buttcap is original to the pistol and the color is consistent with that of the frame, (8) the barrel, back strap and grip have the correct "VIII" assembler's mark, (9) the North & Cheney frame marking is the correct size and the missing "LIN" in "BERLIN" is consistent with other original Model 1799 pistols and (10) the mainspring is original to the pistol but broken.

Rating Definition:

Very good plus. The pistol barrel, hammer, frizzen, frizzen spring and back strap have a untouched brown patina with scattered pitting and surface rust. The "PV/US" markings on the top of the barrel are legible. The iron ramrod is missing. The brass frame and trigger guard have not been cleaned and have a dark patina with some corrosion on protected areas surrounding the hammer and frizzen spring. The North & Cheney markings on the bottom of the receiver are light but legible. The brass buttcap has more handling wear. The walnut grip is also in very good condition with scattered, minor handling marks and two inconsequential hair-line cracks. A Model 1799 North & Cheney flintlock pistol in the original flintlock configuration is a key piece in the evolution of U.S. military handguns and one of the most difficult of all U.S. handguns to obtain. The is a solid, original, example of a rare Model 1799 Pistol accompanied by a detailed evaluation by one of the recognized experts in U.S. martial flintlock pistol. This pistol would be a tremendous addition to the most advanced U.S. martial arms collection.

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