Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 215: Documented Merrill Latrobe & Thomas Samuel Remington Carbine

Auction Date: September 10, 2021

Incredibly Rare and Highly Desirable Documented Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas Breech Loading Percussion Saddle Ring Carbine Manufactured by Samuel Remington for U.S. Trials

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $20,000 - $30,000

Incredibly Rare and Highly Desirable Documented Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas Breech Loading Percussion Saddle Ring Carbine Manufactured by Samuel Remington for U.S. Trials

Manufacturer: Remington
Model: Merrill Carbine
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 54
Barrel: 21 3/16 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 689
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 164
Class: Antique

On July 26, 1855, the Chief of Ordnance ordered 170 of these rare breech loading percussion saddle ring carbines from the firm of James Merrill, Ferdinand C. Latrobe and Philip E. Thomas of Baltimore, Maryland, who contracted with Samuel Remington to complete the manufacturing. These carbines were purchased by the U.S. Ordnance Department and issued for field trials to the 5th Squadron of the 1st Regiment of Cavalry. It features a faucet breech mechanism with a manual rammer used to force the cartridge forward into the breech, and there is a hole in the bottom of the receiver for the sheared off end of a paper cartridge to fall out upon closing the breech. A U.S. patent (number 14,077) was granted to James H. Merrill on January 4, 1856, although he would have submitted it earlier. Merrill also had an identical British patent (number 2329) dated October 18, 1855. Flayderman's Guide (9B-079) states, "The fact that Samuel Remington was the manufacturer adds to the collector importance of this extreme rarity. Among the important mechanical features of this model was the rammer mounted in the rear section of the breech (within the stock wrist) used to push the combustible cartridge into the barrel. Another distinct detail is in the use of a Maynard primer." This exact carbine is photographed in Arms Heritage magazine volume 2, issue 5 article "Merrill, Latrobe and Thomas Carbines" by Edward Hull and Frank Harrington in which the plate 5 photograph caption states, "The contract type carbine has a .54 caliber barrel 21-3/16 long (measured down the barrel to the face of the cylinder). A ramrod is suspended below the barrel. The back action lock includes a Maynard primer mechanism. This sample is representative of the type but has a block rear sight, which may represent Col. Craig’s desire for a 'compact sight.' (George Moller collection and photo)." The other limited known surviving examples have a Sharps ladder rear sight as Colonel Craig originally requested, but he changed his mind a month later. "S. REMINGTON/ILION, NY" marked on the lock plate, "MERRILL, LATROBE & THOMAS/BALTIMORE, MD./PATENT APPLIED FOR" marked on top of the breech. Small serial number "80" marked on various components. "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes wood tampion. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Very good, retaining a smooth brown patina overall with some patches of light pitting on the barrel and patches of mild pitting at the breech. Brass mountings retain an attractive original golden patina. Stock is also very good with some scattered scratches and dents, a crack at the left and top of the comb with two small screw repairs. Mechanically excellent. Surviving examples of Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas carbines are extremely rare, and a key piece to any early U.S. martial or Remington collection!

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