Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1191: U.S. Navy Sharps Model 1855 Breech Loading Percussion Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Rare U.S. Navy Sharps Model 1855 Breech Loading Percussion Rifle

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

Rare U.S. Navy Sharps Model 1855 Breech Loading Percussion Rifle

Manufacturer: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Model: 1855-Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 54
Barrel: 27 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 326
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 86
Class: Antique
Description:

This is an example of an extremely rare Sharps Model 1855 U.S. Navy rifle, one of approximately 263 manufactured in 1856 with a saber bayonet lug and guide. They were serial numbered in the 20000-21000 range. The Navy received 201 of these rifles in 1857 with a small amount going to the USS Wabash, USS Merrimack, USS Mississippi, and the USS Minnesota. The barrel is fitted with a stud and key guide on the underside near the muzzle for a saber bayonet. The top of the barrel behind the rear sight is marked "SHARP'S RIFLE/MANUFG.CO./HARTFORD CONN." ahead of a Navy anchor marked on top of the breech end of the barrel. The underside of the barrel is marked with the matching serial number "20325". The primer door is marked "EDWARD MAYNARD/PATENTEE 1845." and the upper tang is marked "SHARPS/PATENT/1848" followed by the serial number. It has a blade front sight, folding ladder rear sight, casehardened finish on the lock and frame, blue remaining steel parts, a smooth walnut forearm with screw retained brass barrel band, and a straight grip stock with a brass patch box and carbine style buttplate. "Z 39" is marked on the inside of the patch box as well as underneath the barrel. "N/95" is marked inside the patch box door. Provenance: The George Moller Collection

Rating Definition:

Very good, exhibiting smooth brown patina overall, evident of genuine period naval use, with strong traces of original blue finish on the barrel and primer door, some patches of light pitting, some small dings ahead of the barrel band, and clear markings. Some evidence of artificial brown visible around rear sight base on barrel. The brass components display an attractive golden aged patina. Wood is also very good as refinished with some scattered minor scratches and dings, a hairline crack behind the left of the upper tang, a small repaired chip behind the left of the frame, a repaired section below the lock, and a repaired section at the toe. Absent barrel band screw. Mechanically excellent. A nice solid example of an extremely rare Sharps Model 1855 U.S. Navy rifle.



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