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EXQUISITE & FINEST KNOWN JENNINGS BREECH LOADING

Currency:USD Category:Firearms & Military Start Price:10,000.00 USD Estimated At:20,000.00 - 30,000.00 USD
EXQUISITE & FINEST KNOWN JENNINGS BREECH LOADING
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[?]Live Online Auction Starts In 2020 Jun 14 @ 10:00 (UTC-4 : AST/EDT)
RIFLE. Cal. 54. S# 384. Not only is this rifle in magnificent condition, retaining virtually all of its original finish, it was purchased by the famous early collector A.E. Brooks directly from one of the original principal manufacturers Richard S. Lawrence (1817-1892). Lawrence was master armorer at Sharps Manufacturing Co. in Hartford when Brooks most likely obtained this rifle. These rifles often show up in the marketplace as muzzle loading conversions, generally in very poor condition. No doubt, this is the only near pristine example known. This gun was the precursor for the Volcanics & later Henry & Winchester rifles. There are numerous articles from various texts describing history. This particular arm was made in about 1850 & shot the patented "Rocket Ball" cartridge which was loaded through the right side of the frame. The ring trigger operates the breech & the automatic pill primer device mounted on top of frame w/ rnd. cover. Gun measures 44 1/2" overall w/ 26" rnd. browned bbl. having engraved scrolls on top at breech & near muzzle around brass blade front sight. Forward section of breech, which is rnd., retains a blued fixed rear sight. The frame is case colored w/ engraved scrolls en suite to bbl. marked on left side of frame in 2 panels "ROBBINS & LAWRENCE / MAKERS / WINDSOR VT." & "O.P. DIXON AGENT / NEW YORK / PATENTED 1849". Mounted on straight grain varnished American walnut is crescent shaped case colored buttplate w/ scroll engraving on top. Trigger guard is engraved en suite & fire blued. The rectangular loading gate door & rnd. pellet priming door are also fire blued. The hammer is case colored, engraved en suite w/ distinctive 1 1/4" tapered extension for striking pill primers. It is interesting to note that Flayderman in his monumental guide to American firearms states this example was made after the experimental Jennings repeating rifle but Brooks in his 1899 catalog states that this was the first gun made in 1849 "soon after this rifle was made it was conceived that there could be attached to it a magazine that would make this a repeating rifle, carrying 20 charges & a new model was made". Remember Brooks did obtain this gun from Richard S. Lawrence while he was in Hartford. Regardless, this is an exemplary example that has no peers & would complement the finest early American rifle or Winchester collection. Listed on page 73 of the 1899 A.E. Brooks Collection catalog as item 450, it is also noted [1562], which is the # stamped on the buttstock. UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: copy of January 1852 International Magazine article. CONDITION: excellent. Bbl. & cleaning rod tube retain virtually all their original bright brown finish w/ light edge wear at muzzle. Frame, hammer & ring trigger retain much of their muted dull case color, but mostly a silver/gray patina w/ staining especially on the 1 1/2" rnd. extension to bbl. Strong traces of fire blue are found on trigger guard & inside loading gate cover & primer cover. Stock is very well fit retaining virtually all of its original factory varnish. Markings are all crisp & easily discerned. Mechanically rifle operates perfectly & bore is mirror bright showing 7 very lightly cut lands & grooves. PROVENANCE: Brooks purchased from R.S. Lawrence, Hartford, Connecticut; once part of the A.E. Brooks historical arms collection displayed in his museum / hotel / restaurant at 387 Main St. Hartford, Conn., circa 1880 & displayed until 1893; displayed at Wadsworh Athenaeum (item # 1562) 1894; pictured & described A.E. Brooks Collection catalog item # 450, 1899; U.S. Cartridge Co. Collection, Lowell, Mass. 1902; pictured & described as item # 291 in "Illustrated Catalog of United States Cartridge Company's Collection of Firearms", 1903, displayed at the Massachusetts Sportsmans Association show Boston, February & March 1902; displayed by U.S. Cartridge Co. at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition; on loan & display at Smithsonian Institute 1906- August 1931; sold by Robins H. Ritter, East Hartford Connecticut Auction 1942; David Nicholson Collection. (01-17090/JS). ANTIQUE. $20,000-30,000.