Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1100: New Haven Arms Co. Henry Rifle 44 Henry RF

Auction Date: April 21, 2013

Extraordinary U.S. Martially Inspected Civil War Henry Lever Action Rifle

Estimated Price: $110,000 - $160,000

Extraordinary U.S. Martially Inspected Civil War Henry Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: New Haven Arms Co.
Model: Henry Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 Henry RF
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1388
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 56
Class: Antique
Description:

This is an outstanding example of an all original Martially Inspected Civil War Henry rifle known or ever offered by the Rock Island Auction Company. This beautiful Henry lever action rifle was manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company in late 1863 or early 1864. The rifle serial number "3845" is close to the serial number range of the approximately 900 U.S. Ordnance Department inspected Henry rifles purchased to arm the 1st D.C. Cavalry regiment in late 1863. Experts believe that most of the Henry rifles manufactured between 1862 and 1865 were purchased by individual Federal soldiers who wanted the obvious advantages of a 15-shot repeating rifle. Henry rifles were especially popular with soldiers from Midwestern regiments. By 1864, at least two Illinois regiments (7th and 66th Illinois Volunteer Infantry) were armed primarily with privately purchased Henry rifles. This beautiful rifle was fully inspected and accepted by the US Government and has been correctly stamped with the U.S. Ordnance inspector's initials of: "C C" on the right front flat of the receiver. It has also been stamped with U.S. Ordnance inspector's initials of "C C.G.C.", on the right side barrel flat, directly in line with the receiver proofs just in front of the receiver. In addition, the right side of the buttstock behind and slightly below the upper tang, has been stamped with a beautifully crisp boxed "C.G.C." US Ordnance inspector's cartouche, which matches the receiver and barrel acceptance proofs, authenticating this exceptional rifle as fully inspected and accepted as a US Martial Henry rifle. The rifle has the distinctive octagon barrel with integral 15-shot magazine, brass receiver and crescent buttplate. The barrel has a nickel-silver front sight blade and a dovetail mounted, folding leaf rear sight. The rear sight has a 1,000 yard center notch. The second style receiver lacks the rear sight dovetail found on Henry rifles with serial numbers below 3,000. The first style brass buttplate has a rounded heel and a spring loaded brass trap door that contains an original four-piece wooden cleaning rod that has an original martially marked "H" proof on the upper section. The left side of the straight grain walnut stock and the left side of the barrel are not fitted with the sling swivel and sling loop which were special order items until 1864. The brass magazine follower is the larger second style and the rifle has the second style loading lever with spur to engage the half-moon shaped loading lever latch on the lower tang. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the two-line legend "HENRY'S PATENT. OCT.16.1860/MANUFACT'D BY THE NEWHAVEN ARMS CO.NEWHAVEN.CT" with all serifed letters. The serial number "3645" is stamped on the top barrel flat behind the rear sight, on the left side of the lower receiver tang, in the upper receiver tang inlet of the stock, on the inside of the buttplate and on the shank of both hand-fitted buttplate screws. All of the serial numbers match.

Rating Definition:

Outstanding, near excellent condition with 70% plus of the original barrel blue remaining. Mixed with a slight brown patina on the edges and high spots of the barrel. The original markings are crisp and sharp. The extremely fine receiver, side plates and lifting gate all retain an original mellow brass patina, with just some very minor old age brown patina spots on the upper and lower edges/sides of the receiver. The round top screws are all phenomenal with most retaining 80% of their original blue finish. The excellent, totally original buttstock has it's original deep dark brown chocolate color overall with an unbelievable super crisp inspector cartouche on the right side. The stock does shows some very minor handling marks on the sides and for a rifle that’s almost 150 years old this stock is the best we have ever seen on any U.S. Martially Inspected Henry rifle. Overall, this is the finest all original U.S. Martially Inspected Henry rifle that Rock Island Auction Company has ever offered for sale (by a long shot!), truly a one-of-a-kind exceptionally fine all original rifle. Of the hundreds of thousands of firearms this writer has reviewed for this company, this example is the favorite!



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