Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 236: Civil War Lee Fire Arms Co. Single Shot Carbine

Auction Date: September 10, 2021

Rare Civil War Lee Fire Arms Co. Single Shot Carbine

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $4,000 - $6,000

Rare Civil War Lee Fire Arms Co. Single Shot Carbine

Manufacturer: Lee Firearms Co
Model: Single Shot-Carbine
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 RF
Barrel: 21 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 829
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 181
Class: Antique

These carbines were designed by James Paris Lee and manufactured by the Lee Fire Arms Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Though Lee is most famous for his bolt action and magazine design, the first production arms manufactured based on Lee's designs were these single shot carbines. The barrels were subcontracted to Remington, but an error in communication and/or the U.S. Ordnance Department's desire to not pay for the arms after the conclusion of the war led to the government rejecting the whole batch of carbines due to the carbines being bored out to .42 caliber like the trials arms instead of the .44 caliber mentioned in communications from Chief of Ordnance Brigadier General A.B. Dyer. Only 255 carbines and an unknown number of sporting rifles were completed by November 1866, and 202 others were nearly complete. Other components were also outsourced, but they were assembled in Milwaukee. A very detailed history of these firearms is laid out in the article "James Lee, Wisconsin Arms Inventor, 1860-1874" by Herb Uphoff available through the American Society of Arms Collectors. It has a "pinched" blade front sight, two leaf 500 yard rear sight, "LEE'S FIRE ARMS CO. MILWAUKEE, WIS/PATD JULY 22D 1862." on the left side of the barrel, a saddle ring bar and ring on the left side of the action, matching serial numbers on the barrel and action, and smooth buttstock. With the hammer at half cock, the side swing barrel opens for loading from the right. "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes wood tampion. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Good with smooth brown patina overall, scattered minor marks and scratches, and some faint pitting. Stock is lightly sanded and re-oiled with scattered light circular scratches, and a light chip at the toe. Mechanically fine.

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