Lot #1108
Lot #1110

Lot 1109: Extremely Rare Belgian LeMat Centerfire Revolving Carbine

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: September 10, 2016

Lot 1109: Extremely Rare Belgian LeMat Centerfire Revolving Carbine

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: September 10, 2016

Estimated Price: $20,000 - $35,000
Price Realized:

Extremely Rare Belgian LeMat Centerfire Revolving Carbine

Manufacturer: Le Mat
Model: Revolving-Carbine
Type: Carbine
Gauge: 12 mm/20 gauge
Barrel: 23 I/4 inch part octagon and round
Finish: bright
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 5333
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 82
Class: Antique
Description:

Frenchman Dr. Jean Francois Alexander LeMat (1821-1895) is primarily remembered for his unusual percussion and pinfire handguns from the Civil War era that were used by some Confederates including General J.E.B. Stuart. However, after the war, LeMat continued to design more advanced versions of his distinctive firearms and returned to France in 1868. In France, he also led an American volunteer legion during Franco-Prussian War, was a negotiator during the French Insurrection in 1871, and developed early airships. Production totals for the LeMat firearms are not known. However, given that production of the more well-known and more often seen percussion revolvers numbered only in the low thousands, the centerfire carbines from the late 1860s to the 1880s production totals were likely very low, possibly only a few hundred. There are very few surviving examples. Though there is at least one example with a serial number in the thousands is known, it may have been continued from percussion, pinfire, and rimfire ranges, and most known centerfire LeMat carbines have fairly low serial numbers like this example. Revolving rifles, carbines, and shotguns were never very popular and were essentially obsolete when compared to repeating arms manufactured by Winchester and others in the same period. Similar Belgian LeMat centerfire carbines are illustrated and described on pages 127 and 130 of "LeMAT, THE MAN, THE GUN" by Forgett and Serpette. The carbine has a 10-shot cylinder chambered for 12mm straight case centerfire cartridges with 23 1/4 inch part-octagon barrel and matching round shot barrel chambered for a 15.2mm (20 gauge) centerfire cartridge. The carbine has an external ejector rod mounted on the right side of the shot barrel and a steel cleaning rod on the right side of the carbine between the shot and cartridge barrels. The iron trigger guard bow has a straight spur on the front to prevent the left hand from moving forward of the cylinder during firing. The rear of the rifled barrel has a three leaf folding rear sight with 100, 200, and 300 meter notches. The steel blade front sight is an integral part of the upper barrel band. A small sling ring is attached to the right side of the trigger guard spur. The European walnut stock has a small hole in the top of the buttplate tang which was intended to store an accessory screwdriver. The top barrel flat is stamped: "COLONEL LEMAT PATENT" in block letters between the rear sight and the lower barrel band. The serial number "46" is visible on the right side of the trigger guard bow, sling ring stud, inside face of the cylinder loading gate, inside face of the shot cartridge loading gate, face of the rear sight leaf and end of the takedown screw. All of the visible serial numbers match. Traces of manufacturer's stamps and Liege proofmarks are visible on the underside of the barrel between the lower barrel band and the frame.

Rating Definition:

Very good. The metal surfaces are polished bright and have a smooth appearance. The LeMat marking on the top of the barrel flat and the serial numbers are clear. All the other markings are faint and only partially legible. The stock has been refinished and is in very good condition. This is an attractive example of a very scare Belgian LeMat centerfire carbine.



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