Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3243: British King & Phillips Prototype Bolt Action Percussion Carbine

Auction Date: August 28, 2022

Rare British King & Phillips Patent Experimental Prototype Bolt Action Breechloading Percussion Saddle Ring Carbine

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $5,000 - $7,500

Rare British King & Phillips Patent Experimental Prototype Bolt Action Breechloading Percussion Saddle Ring Carbine

Manufacturer: English
Model: Single Shot
Type: Carbine
Gauge: 45
Barrel: 21 inch round
Finish: brown/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 470
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 174
Class: Antique

This experimental King & Phillips patent breechloading centerfire rifle uses a bolt action system with a rotating bolt body that doubles as an outer protective collar surrounding numerous small locking lugs. For loading, the bolt is rotated counterclockwise from the user and pulled backwards, allowing loading from the top with a paper contained cartridge, which is then pushed forward into the chamber upon closing the bolt. "KING & PHILLIPS/PATENT" marked in two lines on top of the breech of the barrel, and "No 56" above a Birmingham proof marked on the bolt handle. No related patent has been located at the time of writing. Fixed front sight and graduated ladder rear sight. "50" bore markings with Birmingham proofs marked on the left of the breech end of the barrel with four groove rifling. Saddle bar and ring located on the left side. Engraved screws throughout. Blued barrel and trigger guard, casehardened lock, forend cap and buttplate, and bright bolt body. It was found that this carbine was possibly displayed by King & Phillips at the International Exhibition of 1862 in which an included scanned copy of the cover of the catalog and one page with the headline "SPECIMENS OF MILITARY ARMS manufactured by the Birmingham Small Arms Trade for the English and Foreign Governments:" listing "KING & PHILLIPS, Birmingham, Manufacturers," as an exhibitor with three firearms displayed including "One rifle patent breech-loading cavalry carbine." The Birmingham gunmaking firm of King & Phillips, located at 96 Bath Street, was active between 1859-1864 as “gun, pistol & rifle manufacturers” and was known to manufacture Enfield Pattern 53 rifle-muskets delivered to the Confederacy during the American Civil War. It is likely this prototype breechloading carbine was made specifically as a sample to show at the International Exhibition of 1862 in an attempt to gain interest from the English or foreign governments for potential purchase of more, and/or it was intended for military trials. Provenance: The Collection of Joe M. Wanenmacher Jr

Rating Definition:

Very good plus, retaining strong traces of original blue finish on the barrel underneath smooth brown patina with some scattered areas of light surface pitting, sharp markings and edges in the metal, and a mix of smooth gray and brown patina on the remaining surfaces including the casehardened lock. Stock is very good with defined edges, scattered scratches and dents, a slightly separated crack visible above the rear of the lock, a pin-sized hole in the left of the buttstock likely from a display plaque, and numerous lines in the forend from display. Mechanically excellent.

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