Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3077: Whitney-Burgess Military Lever Action Carbine with Bayonet

Auction Date: June 7, 2020

Rare and Exceptional Whitney-Burgess-Morse 3rd Model Military Two-Band Lever Action Carbine with Bayonet

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $6,500 - $9,500

Rare and Exceptional Whitney-Burgess-Morse 3rd Model Military Two-Band Lever Action Carbine with Bayonet

Manufacturer: Whitney Arms Company
Model: Burgess Morse-Carbine
Type: Carbine
Gauge: 45-70
Barrel: 23 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1811
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 40
Class: Antique

Very, very few of these Whitney-Burgess two-band military carbines designed for sword bayonets are known. Possibly as few as three. See pages 93-97 of "Lever Action Magazine Rifles Derived from the Patents of Andrew Burgess" by Maxwell for images of the other two which are use the earlier First Model variation. There is a fourth two-band carbine, a 3rd Model, serial number 1194 pictured on page 110. However, that carbine does not have the modifications for a bayonet. Thus, this appears to be the only known 3rd Model. These carbines are noted as probably modified "as sample or sales models for potential Military arms buyers" and listed as very rare. It has the distinctive saber bayonet lug on the right side of the barrel near the muzzle and cut sections on the forearm and cap on the right for clearance for the bayonet, a blade front sight, two barrel bands, a military style folding leaf rear sight, "G. W. MORSE/PATENTED OCT. 24TH 1856" on top of the barrel ahead of the rear sight, "45 CAL-" on top at the breech, saddle ring on the left side of the frame, "A. BURGESS/PATENTED JANY. 7TH 1873/PATENTED OCT. 19TH 1875." on the upper tang, early serpentine lever, "1287" on the lower tang, and crescent buttplate with trapdoor (cleaning rod absent). The bayonet has an approximately 20 inch blade and a brass hilt with scale/feather pattern grip and "eagle head" shaped pommel and includes a black leather scabbard with brass fittings. The bayonet is similar to but a little different from the bayonets used with Winchester Model 1874 and 1876 muskets. It appears to be the same pattern as the bayonet with serial number 245 shown on page 96.

Rating Definition:

Very fine with 70% bright original high polish blue finish with the balance fading to a plum tone on the barrel and remaining brighter on the bands and frame, 80% original case colors remain on the hammer, mostly light brown patina on the balance, some minor oxidation/pitting, light scratches, and general mild wear. The wood is very good and retains nearly all of the original glossy oiled finish, has some minor scuffs by the bayonet lug, a small chip at the upper right corner of the wrist, and scattered minor pressure marks and scratches. Mechanically excellent. The bayonet is fine and has attractively aged patina on the hilt and silver-gray patina and light oxidation/pitting on the blade which has a bent and blunted tip. The scabbard is good and has moderate wear overall and dark aged patina on the fittings. This is an exceptionally rare Burgess variation, and the first of its kind we have ever offered.

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