Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3176: Harpers Ferry Percussion Musket with Butterfield's Alteration

Auction Date: September 12, 2021

Rare and Desirable Documented Harpers Ferry Model 1816 Type III Percussion Musket Dated 1837 with Butterfield's Patent Self-Priming Pennsylvania Contract Alteration and Bayonet

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $5,500 - $8,500

Rare and Desirable Documented Harpers Ferry Model 1816 Type III Percussion Musket Dated 1837 with Butterfield's Patent Self-Priming Pennsylvania Contract Alteration and Bayonet

Manufacturer: Harpers Ferry Armory Muskets And Carbines
Model: 1816-Musket
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 69
Barrel: 42 inch round
Finish: bright
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 696
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 110
Class: Antique
Description:

This is an attractive example of a rare Harpers Ferry Model 1816 flintlock musket altered to Jesse S. Butterfield's patented pellet primer mechanism. These Pennsylvania contract Butterfield alteration muskets are described on pages 84-85 of George D. Moller's book "American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume III", and this musket is shown on page 84. Moller notes that Butterfield was contracted to convert 1,000 muskets on July 2, 1861, for $4.00 each. He made two deliveries of 100 muskets each on September 2 and November 6, 1861. This conversion consisted of installing a new bolster on the end of the barrel. The main conversion consisted of installing a new pellet primer mechanism on the side of the lock. This mechanism had a tube located on the underside that held the "wafer-primer." Each time the hammer was cocked, it would feed one primer up to a sliding bar located under the hammer that would position it over the nipple. The lock is marked "HARPERS/FERRY/1837" vertically behind the hammer and "BUTTERFIELD'S/PATENT DEC 11, 1855/PHILADA" towards the front. The barrel markings were removed during the conversion. "AB/V" is marked on the left stock flat. Number "98" is marked on the barrel bands, the side escutcheon plate, underbelly of the stock ahead of the trigger guard, inside the lock and its internal components, and on the back of the buttplate. "US" and "6/121" are marked on buttplate tang. Single digit assembly numbers are marked on various components. Includes US socket bayonet and reproduction leather sling. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine, attractive bright polished surfaces with some very light surface patina, minor flash pitting, some light nicks, and mostly defined markings on the lock. Stock is fine with a period repaired section behind the primer mechanism, scattered light dents, and two pin sized holes from a former plaque on the right rear of the buttstock below traces of a red painted inventory number. Mechanically excellent. The bayonet is very good. A musket altered with Butterfield's patented pellet primer mechanism is considered among the rarest and most desirable of the Civil War conversions.



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