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Lot #2052
Sharps New Model 1859 Military Rifle with Malcolm Scope in the Berdan Serial Number Range

Rare Civil War double trigger Berdan Sharps

Estimate: $15000+
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Rare Civil War double trigger Berdan Sharps

Civil War Sharps New Model 1859 Military Rifle with Malcolm Scope in the Berdan serial number range, serial #55159, .52 caliber, 29″ barrel with a fine, bright bore having some very mild freckling within the grooves towards the breech. This double set trigger equipped rifle has an overall smooth, plum-brown patina with gray speckling evenly distributed around the receiver. The barrel is original, numbered to the gun under the forend, and was trimmed by 1″ at the muzzle which removed the bayonet lug and front sight. Indeed, this may have been the reason for the modification. The action itself is tight and the trigger mechanism is fully functional with a crisp, light let off when set. The rifle is equipped with a Malcolm telescopic sight that measures 33 1/8″ in length with a tube diameter of 3/4″. The optics are slightly cloudy, but still perfectly serviceable, and the fine crosshair reticle, with four horizontal stadia for different ranges, is intact and in excellent condition. The top of the scope tube has a small maker's plaque mounted towards the ocular eyepiece: “Wm. Malcolm, Syracuse, N.Y.” The walnut forend is held by three barrel bands and is in very good condition with numerous small handling marks and small blemishes along its length, as well as heavy wear to the wood surrounding the screw bolster on the underside. The wood was very lightly sanded at some point with a lightly hued oil finish added. The patchbox equipped buttstock has a matching oil finish with some further surface marks and minor bruises, although the US military inspector’s cartouche is still visible on the left side of the wrist. The rifle sits squarely within the accepted range for rifles issued to Hiram Berdan's legendary US Sharpshooters (54374 to 57567), but is also only one number away from an identical double set trigger 1859 Sharps issued to the famous ‘Bucktails,’ Co. F, 42nd Pennsylvania Infantry, who were partially armed with rifles originally intended for the 1st and 2nd US Sharpshooters. Double trigger Sharps rifles are among the most desirable Civil War weapons and finding one with functional period optics is truly rare. This example is in very good condition and would make a stellar addition to any collection. Oversized.

Additionally includes several related accompaniments, including: a framed black thermoplastic eagle coat button worn by many of the Berdan sharpshooters, which helped camouflage their positions rather than brass buttons which would glint in the sun; a pair of Civil War sharpshooter’s glasses with leather case; a carte-de-visite portrait of Private Richard L. Boyd of Co. H, 1st US Sharpshooters, identified on the reverse in period ink; a box of unfired Sharps ammunition; one fired bullet; and one unfired bullet.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarities: Elite 100
  • Dates: #484 - Ended September 25, 2016