Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1086: Sharps Model 1874 No. 1 Single Shot Sporting Rifle

Auction Date: December 3, 2016

Documented San Francisco Shipped Sharps Model 1874 Single Shot Heavy Barrel Rifle with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $4,000 - $6,000

Documented San Francisco Shipped Sharps Model 1874 Single Shot Heavy Barrel Rifle with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Model: 1874-Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 50
Barrel: 30 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 684
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 52
Class: Antique

The factory letter confirms that this rifle was invoiced on 18 February 1875 to N. Curry & Bro. of San Francisco, California, 50 caliber (case length not specified), 30 inch octagon barrel, double set triggers and oil finished stock. The rifle was part of an order that consisted of to two identical .50 caliber rifles and eight .44 caliber rifles with five sets of reloading equipment and ten sets of globe and peep sights which had a net total worth of $383.50. German silver blade front sight and unmarked folding ladder rear sight on a barrel marked "SHARPS RIFLE CO. HARTFORD CONN" (partially removed by a filled in dovetail slot) ahead of the rear sight and "CALIBRE 50" at the breech. The barrel is numbered to the gun. The forearm with a pewter tip is numbered "54032" (possibly a factory error). The inside of the lock has a non-matching serial number "C53582," which acccording to the second included factory letter, "represents a duplicate numbered lock remaining in the Sharps parts inventory and was original to the rifle as it was assembled. Duplicate serial number guns have been observed a number of times in the serial number documentation process." The upper tang has the serial number and is tapped for sight mounting. The frame has the 1848 patent marking on the left side. Mounted with a smooth forearm and straight grip stock. Sharps manufactured approximately 6,400 Model 1874 sporting rifles between 1871 and 1880. They were popular with market hunters in the West and were well known for their ability to takedown bison at long ranges. They were also popular with long range target shooters and were used in both capacities well after the Sharps Rifle Company closed in 1881 due to increased competition from Winchester's famous lever action and single shot rifles. Many Sharps rifles were manufactured in some of the most powerful black powder cartridges ever made. The use of double set triggers and a set of cross sticks made them incredibly accurate.

Rating Definition:

Very good. The rifle retains traces of original blue finish and silvered out original case colors in the protected areas, otherwise a smooth brown-gray patina with some scattered minor pitting. The period revarnished wood is good with some chipping along the grain, a hairline crack near the upper tang and some minor pressure dents and scratches. Mechanically excellent.

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