Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1208: Roberts Breechloading Conversion of a Springfield Rifle-Musket

Auction Date: September 11, 2021

Scarce Roberts Breech Loading Conversion of a U.S. Springfield Model 1861 Rifle-Musket with Bayonet

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $2,000 - $3,000

Scarce Roberts Breech Loading Conversion of a U.S. Springfield Model 1861 Rifle-Musket with Bayonet

Manufacturer: Providence Tool Company
Model: 1861
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 58 RF
Barrel: 40 inch round
Finish: bright
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 373
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 165
Class: Antique

These rifle-muskets were converted by Providence Tool Company in 1869-1870 to the Roberts breech loading system with a tipping block for the Roberts Breechloading Arms Co. of New York City. The design, patent number 65,607 dated June 11th, 1867, was invented by Brigadier General Benjamin S. Roberts. 5,000 of these were originally intended for the New York National Guard but were ultimately sold to the State of South Carolina after the legislature in New York failed to appropriate the necessary funds, with quantities sold to and used heavily by France and Mexico. After a long service life, many of these rifles reportedly suffered a high loss rate due to breaking parts and thus surviving examples, especially those in high condition like this one, are very rare and desirable. It has the standard Civil War era rifle-musket sights and furniture, an "1864" dated Springfield lock, and casehardened breech marked "ROBERT'S PAT/JUNE. 11. 1867" on the left. Pulling up on the lever opens the breech and cocking the hammer pulls back on a tab on the lever and closes the breech. "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes US socket bayonet, leather sling, and wood tampion. Reference the book "Roberts Breechloading Firearms," and pages 194-195 of "Peabody Firearms," both by Edward Hull, for information on these Roberts conversions. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine, bright surfaces with some areas of light pin-prick pitting, and muted patterns of original case colors on the otherwise smooth lock with sharp markings. Stock is also fine with defined edges, a few chips on the left side below the barrel and edges of the ramrod channel, and minimal handling marks. Mechanically excellent. Included bayonet is fine with scattered spotting. This is an attractive example of a scarce Roberts conversion rifle-musket that would make a fine addition to any advanced U.S. Military collection!

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