Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3024: Civil War Production New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action

Auction Date: December 4, 2016

Rare Civil War Production New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $35,000 - $50,000

Rare Civil War Production New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: New Haven Arms Co.
Model: Henry Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 Henry
Barrel: 24 Inch
Finish: blue
Grip:
Stock: varnished walnut
Item Views: 985
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 34
Class: Antique
Description:

Henry Lever Action Rifle manufactured by the New Haven Arms Co. in March 1864. The rifle has the distinctive Henry "gun metal" brass receiver and buttplate and octagon barrel with integral 15-shot magazine. The barrel has the late style, square back, nickel-silver front sight blade and a dovetail mounted, folding leaf rear sight. The sight leaf has a rounded top with 900 yard center notch. The second style receiver lacks the alternate rear sight dovetail found on Henry receivers to about serial number 3000. The bottom of the receiver has the late, beveled magazine follower cut, and the magazine has the large diameter brass follower. The buttplate is the first style with rounded heel which was replaced with a buttplate with sharp pointed heel in the mid-4000 serial number range. The buttplate has a hinged brass trapdoor. The left side of the stock and barrel have a factory sling swivel and screw mounted loop for a sling hook. The swivel and hook were originally special order features but were standard by early 1864. The barrel and magazine have traces of the blue finish, the hammer and lever are color casehardened, and the straight grain American walnut stock has a varnished or oiled finish. The top of the barrel is roll stamped with the second style legend: "HENRY'S PATENT. OCT. 16, 1860/MANUFACT'D BY THE NEW HAVEN ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CT." in two lines. The second style legend, introduced in the late 3000 serial number range, is larger and has all Roman (serifed) characters rather than the smaller, first style legend with the combination of Roman and Gothic letters. The serial number "4585" is stamped: (1) on the top barrel flat between the rear sight and the receiver, (2) on the lower left side of the receiver tang, (3) in the upper tang inlet of the stock, (4) on the inside of the buttplate and (5) on the shanks of both hand-fitted buttplate screws. All of the visible serial numbers match. The tang screws are, correctly, not serial numbered. Experts believe that most Henry rifles made before 1865 were privately purchased by individual federal soldiers who wanted the unprecedented firepower offered by the 15-shot Henry repeating rifle. The Henry rifle was especially popular with soldiers in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky regiments. Many of these soldiers purchased Henry rifles from dealers in Louisville, Kentucky, and other mid-west cities in 1864 using re-enlistment bounties.

Rating Definition:

Very good. The barrel has a deep brown patina with sharp edges and clear markings. The rear sight is original but is missing the elevator bar. The receiver and buttplate are in good overall condition with an attractive patina. The receiver and buttplate have typical scratches and handling marks. Most of the wear is concentrated on the bottom of the receiver and lower tang. The side plate joints are tight with a few minor dents along the top of the left side plate. The hammer, trigger, and lever have a dark brown patina with slight surface texture and pitting. The stock is in good overall condition with scattered minor handling marks. The bolt has been gunsmith modified to centerfire configuration. This is a very good example of a Civil War production Henry rifle that may have seen Civil War service.



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