This is an important example of an exhibition quality, factory engraved silver finished Henry rifle that was manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company in the early months of 1865 and is attributed to factory engraver Samuel Hoggson. The rifle has the later style receiver with no sight dovetail and later style buttplate with a more pointed heel. The barrel is the proper later variation fitted with the sight dovetail just behind the address, folding leaf rear sight graduated to 900 yards and a German silver front sight with squared back. The rifle has a blued barrel, casehardened hammer and lever, and a silver plated frame and buttplate. The stock is a special select grade deluxe walnut with a high gloss finish. The left side of the stock has a sling swivel, and the left side of the barrel has a loop for a sling hook. The rifle was engraved by Samuel J. Hoggson who was responsible for the majority of the factory engraved Henry Rifles. The engraving is a classic Hoggson pattern of an elaborate scrollwork on a punch dot background. The scrollwork is present on the top of the receiver, the tang, both side plates and extends to the buttplate. The right side of the frame features extensive scroll and punch dot patterns in a scalloped border. The left side of the frame exhibits a running deer and dog motif flanked by a scroll and punch dot background and framed with a scalloped border. See "Winchester Engraving" pg. 27 by R.L. Wilson for another similar example. The top barrel flat is roll stamped "HENRY'S PATENT. OCT. 16. 1860/MANUFACT'D BY THE NEWHAVEN ARMS. CO. NEWHAVEN. CT." Complete with four piece steel cleaning rod. Most of the approximately 9,000 Henry rifles manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company between April 1862 and May 1865 were standard rifles intended for sale to individual soldiers or purchased by the Ordnance Department. Relatively few factory engraved Henry rifles were manufactured during the Civil War, and surviving examples are rare.
Very fine over 60% plus original bright blue finish remains on the barrel. The balance is an even age-darkened plum patina with isolated patches of mild surface pitting reserved to the high edge on the right side of the barrel. The barrel address and serial number are crisp and clear. The loading lever and hammer have a gray/brown patina but still display original muted case colors. A strong 90% plus original silver plated finish remains on the receiver and buttplate. The finish wear is limited to high points and the upper tang. The select deluxe walnut stock is excellent and retains nearly all of its original high gloss finish and exhibits beautiful feathering down the length. This is a fantastic example of an exhibition quality factory engraved Henry rifle. This is one of a select few pieces that can boast both rarity and nearly un-improvable original condition and is worthy to be included in the highest grade of collection.
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