April 27-30, 2021 Extraordinary Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/27/2021
Without doubt, the most famous users of the Sharps Rifle during the Civil War were Berdan’s Sharpshooters. Colonel Hiram Berdan, a 36-year-old mechanical engineer from New York and nationally known marksman believed his greatest contribution to the war effort would be to form a regiment made up of the best riflemen from the Northern states. The men in this regiment would all be crack shots. When Colonel Berdan offered to form the regiment, he asked for and received permission to hold trials for his volunteers. The trials were extremely competitive. Marksmen came from most of the northern states to compete for membership. To qualify as a Sharpshooter, all prospects had to place ten consecutive shots inside a 10” circle at 200 yards at rest and 100 yards off hand. The aid of telescopic sight was not allowed. Ultimately 2,000 marksmen qualified. On November 30th, 1861 the 1st and 2nd US Sharpshooters were formed with Colonel Hiram Berdan in command. Initially, the Ordnance Department decided to arm the Sharpshooters with Springfield muzzleloading rifles. These guns were bitterly rejected by Berdan. In response, the Ordnance Department shipped surplus Colt revolving rifles to arm the Sharpshooters. Once again Berdan rejected the Colt Revolving Rifles saying if this was all the cooperation he was going to receive from the Army he would disband his troops. The entire regiment voted to mutiny if they were forced to use the Colt rifles. They had tried all available rifles and decided the Sharps was the best and most accurate. The Ordnance Department conceded and on January 27th and February 6th, 1862 executed an order to arm the 1st and 2nd United States Sharpshooter (USS) with Sharps New Model 1859 Rifles. Before the company had a chance to start filling the order, Colonel Berdan wrote a letter to Sharps, requesting a few changes to the original order. He wanted double set triggers and a dull blue finish on the barrel. Sharps began incorporating the requested changes. When the action was reported to the Chief of Ordnance, he responded by saying Colonel Berdan was not authorized to make the changes and immediately wrote Sharps instructing them to stop incorporating Berdan’s requested changes to the order. It is believed that out of the 2,000 rifles ordered only 500 were produced with Colonel Berdan’s changes, including double set triggers. Serial number 56986 has the desirable and much sought-after double set triggers. CONDITION: Very good overall . No original finish remaining with scattered light to moderate pitting turning a pleasing brown patina overall. The stock and forearm is a correct period replacement inletted correctly for double-set triggers.Stock shows no visible cracks or damage other than evidence of normal use. Rear barrel sight is a correct replacement. Strong inspection cartouches are visible on the left side of the wrist. The iron patchbox door is stamped on the inside of the lid with the Ordnance punch dot inspection dot. Faint OWA inspection stamp on barrel. The Berdan Sharps are among the most desirable Civil War rifles, especially with double set triggers. -MKS-
Barrel Length
.54 Rifled
FFL Status
Berdan Model 1859
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,600.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $8,960.00
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Number Bids: 12
Auction closed on Friday, April 30, 2021.
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