Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1097: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company - 1874-Rifle

Auction Date: December 3, 2016

Exceptional Documented Extremely Rare Sharps Model 1874 No. 1 Special Long Range Single Shot Rifle with Factory Letter, Shipped to Redwing, Minnesota and Ammunition

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $30,000 - $45,000

Exceptional Documented Extremely Rare Sharps Model 1874 No. 1 Special Long Range Single Shot Rifle with Factory Letter, Shipped to Redwing, Minnesota and Ammunition

Manufacturer: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Model: 1874-Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44-90
Barrel: 34 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1151
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 55
Class: Antique

Manufactured circa 1875, this rifle is one of only an estimated 87 Number 1 Long Range Rifles manufactured by Sharps. According to "Sharps Firearms" by Frank Sellers, page 226, 17 were manufactured in Hartford, Conn., and the remaining 70 in Bridgeport, Conn. The rifle is fitted with a 34 inch octagon barrel equipped with a globe spirit lever front sight and Lawrence Patent folding ladder rear sight absent of any graduation markings and with the three line C.S. Lawrence patent marking. The top flat is marked "SHARPS RIFLE CO HARTFORD, CONN." immediately ahead of the rear sight and "CALIBRE 44" at the breech. The left side of the receiver is marked "SHARPS RIFLE CO./PAT APR 6 1869". The serial number is marked on the upper tang with the third numeral below the factory installed post for the tang sight. The tang sight is a long range sporting variation marked with the matching serial number on the lower left side. The matching serial number is also on the bottom barrel flat under the forearm and on the forearm. The barrel is finished blue and most of the remaining metal surfaces are casehardened. The rifle is equipped with a single trigger and mounted with a smooth varnished checkered walnut forearm with a Schnabel forend and pistol grip stock with a flat checkered buttplate. The accompanying factory letter states that this rifle's serial number is listed in original records of the sharps Rifle Company Order Book No. 2 described as a Special Long Range Rifle, "grade not specified", 44 caliber using 90 grain 2 5/8 inch shell and a 34 inch unspecified barrel. The letter also states that the designation "Special" is unclear; "it may be that this rifle was in No. 2 Grade, but ordered with extra quality wood." The rifle was invoiced with another Long Range rifle, No. 4 Grade to Edward L. Baker of Red Wing, Minnesota, on January 20, 1876. There is an early second factory letter which verifies the same information. Also included is a copy of the original letter from Mr. Baker to Sharps for the purchase of a charger. There are also some letters in reference to a connection to a Olaf Nilson patent from Red Wing, Minnesota, and this rifle; however, it was learned that Edward L. Baker was in the hardware business in 1876, and it was surmised that the rifle was purchased for a customer and the search ended. Comes with a box of Winchester Repeating Arms 44-90 caliber cartridges for Sharps rifle (8/10).

Rating Definition:

Excellent. The rifle retains 98% original blue finish with some minor edge wear. The receiver retains over 90% plus original vivid case colors, while the lever and lower tang retains 85%-90% original case colors with some areas a smooth gray patina from normal handling. The wood is also excellent with 95% plus original varnish remaining and some scattered minor dents and scratches on the lower right pistol grip. The markings are crisp. The action is excellent. An excellent and extremely rare Special No. 1 Sharps Long Range Rifle. The box is very showing repaired corners and retains virtually all of the green label.

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