Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1100: Nimschke Engraved, Sharps Model 1874 Long Range No. 1 Rifle

Auction Date: December 3, 2016

Extraordinary L.D. Nimschke Engraved, Sharps Model 1874 Long Range No. 1 Rifle with Extensive Documentation

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $75,000 - $110,000

Extraordinary L.D. Nimschke Engraved, Sharps Model 1874 Long Range No. 1 Rifle with Extensive Documentation

Manufacturer: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Model: Old Reliable
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 45-100
Barrel: 34 inch part octagon
Finish: blue/case-hardened
Stock: walnut checkered
Item Views: 1654
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 58
Class: Antique

Sharps Model 1874 Long Range No. 1 Rifle with L.D. Nimschke engraving manufactured c. 1876-77. This rifle is illustrated and described on pages 227 and 228 of "SHARPS FIREARMS" by Frank Sellers and appeared on the cover of "SHARPS FIREARMS/MODEL 1874 RIFLES" by Frank Sellers and De Witt Bailey. Included with the rifle is a letter from a previous owner, Dr. R.L. Moore. Dr. Moore's letter states that this rifle is listed in Sharps Company records as: "Model 1874 Long Range Target Rifle #1, EXTRA". The Moore letter further states the rifle was shipped to the Dearborn Rifle Club in Chicago, Illinois, on August 27, 1877, at no charge and was intended to be awarded as a prize for a match with British riflemen following the 1877 Creedmoor International Match. The Chicago match was not held and the rifle was not presented. The Moore letter also states that this rifle was very likely displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. The receiver, side plate, hammer, upper and lower tang, lever and hinge pin key are engraved with intricate relief scrollwork on a punch-dot background with detailed borders. The sides of the receiver are engraved with vignettes of a running bison and white tail buck and a prong horn antelope engraved on the right side plate. The Moore letter states that this highly detailed and flawlessly executed engraving was identified as the work of L.D. Nimschke by firearms expert R.L. Wilson. The rifle has a blued half-round/half-octagon barrel and color casehardened receiver, hammer and breechblock. The forearm and pistol grip stock are highly figured, fancy grade, American walnut with a high polish piano finish. The barrel has a 'New Model' wind gauge front sight with spirit level. A long range vernier sight with 4 5/8 inch stem graduated "0-6" is mounted on the tang. The single trigger has a knurled face. The forearm and stock pistol grip have deep checkering. The bottom of the pistol grip is fitted with a blank silver inscription plate. An alternate mount for a tang sight is inlaid on the stock comb just ahead of the butt. The shotgun style butt is fitted with a Sharps checkered hard rubber buttplate with diamond shaped escutcheons around the screw holes. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped with the Sharps "Old Reliable" logo in a rectangle followed by "SHARPS RIFLE CO. BRIDGEPORT. CONN." in one line. The caliber designation "CAL. 45 2 4/10" is stamped on the left barrel flat. The serial number "159488" is stamped on the top of the receiver in an engraved rectangle. The lower left side of tang sight base is serial numbered "159488". The top of the base and rear sight stem are stamped with the partial serial number "88" on the left side. All of the visible serial numbers match.

Rating Definition:

Excellent. The rifle shows only very limited handling and storage wear. The barrel has 98% all of the original blue finish intact with sharp edges, crisp markings and a mirror bright bore. The dove-gray case-hardened finish on the receiver and other components retain 85% plus original case colors with only very minor high point wear. The intricate relief engraved scrollwork and borders and highly detailed game scenes are extremely crisp. The nicely figured stock and forearm retain nearly all of the high polish piano finish. The checkering on the pistol grip and forearm is very sharp. Wear on the stock and forearm is limited to a few scattered and very minor storage and handling marks. This exceptional rifle in undoubtedly the finest example of a Sharps Model 1874 Long Range No. 1 Rifle extant.

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