Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 13: Early Production New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Auction Date: May 13, 2022

Iconic and Outstanding First Model New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $110,000 - $190,000

Iconic and Outstanding First Model New Haven Arms Co. Henry Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: New Haven Arms Co.
Model: Henry Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 Henry RF
Barrel: 24 1/4 inch octagon
Finish: blue/brass
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 2761
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 15
Class: Antique

This early Henry Repeating Rifle was manufactured by Oliver Winchester's New Haven Arms Co. c. 1862, believed to be the first true year of production, and remains in outstanding original condition. It is certainly one of the finest standard Henry rifles in existence today. The New Haven Arms Co. manufactured approximately 1,300 Henry rifles in 1862 as Oliver Winchester struggled to build a market and production capabilities for his advanced 15-shot repeating rifle. The Henry became very popular with Union soldiers who could get their hands on one, and experts believe that most Henry rifles manufactured between 1862 and 1865 were purchased by individual soldiers and saw some Civil War service. The Henry was particularly popular with Midwest troops, and many are believed to have been purchased with reenlistment bounties in 1864 by veterans who signed back on to see the war to its conclusion. The rifle has the distinctive gunmetal "brass" frame and crescent buttplate, a blued barrel and tubular magazine, and color casehardened hammer, trigger, and lever. The straight grain, black walnut stock has a high gloss varnish. The rifle has the distinctive early features which include: alternate rear sight dovetail on the frame, buttplate with rounded heel, the first style notch and ladder rear sight with "100" yard marking on the base and "1000" yard marking on the top of the ladder below the center notch, the first style "half moon" nickel-silver blade front sight, the early small magazine cartridge follower, the corresponding straight follower cut in the frame for the small cartridge follower, "perch-belly" shaped buttstock, and an original four-piece hickory cleaning rod in the stock compartment.

Rating Definition:

Extremely fine to near excellent. The combination barrel and magazine tube retain 85% plus of the original blue finish and show only light edge wear and some fading from handling. The hammer retains 75% plus strong original fiery case colors, and the trigger and protected areas of the lever have some lighter original case colors and otherwise a smooth gray-brown patina. The brass frame and buttplate have a highly attractive natural aged patina, minimal minor marks and scratches, tight side plate joints, and slight handling and storage wear. The stock is exceptionally fine and has most of the original high gloss varnish, numerous light scratches, and some small dings. The original cleaning rod is excellent and has minimal age related wear. Mechanically excellent. The vast majority of these early repeaters saw considerable use in the Civil War and late 19th century making any high condition Henry rifle rare and valuable. This rifle would be extremely difficult to improve on.

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