Lot 216: Very Rare Circa 1818 Henry Deringer Indian Trade Rifle in Original Percussion With Original Uncleaned Surface

Very Rare Circa 1818 Henry Deringer Indian Trade Rifle in Original Percussion With Original Uncleaned Surface. This rifle was made by the famous Henry Deringer of single shot pistol fame. The barrel is marked: “H. Deringer/Philad” with the period after the “H” raised up in the text between the “H” and the “D”. This is a sure indication that the marking is not that of a faker. Also, the simple patch box ends in a stylized eagle’s head motif, also a Deringer signature. The cataloger has seen a number of Deringer trade rifles with identical patch boxes and one is illustrated in "The Trade Rifle Sketch Book" by Charles E. Hanson on page 21. The barrel is full octagonal with a rifled bore of approximately .45 caliber. The percussion lock is unsigned and undecorated except for some arrow -like lines at the rear of the lock. This piece has always had percussion ignitions indicated by the fact that only one screw secures the lock (a flintlock would have two screws) and there is no side plate on the left side of the stock opposite the lock plate. The rifle has a full stock of absolutely stunning curly maple with its original finish intact and neither metal nor wood have ever been cleaned. All furniture is brass with an elongated star on the raised cheek piece and a brass oval on the top of the wrist. Although Henry Deringer is best known for his small pocket pistols, often, early in his gun manufacturing career, he built military arms and Native American trade pieces for the US government. In 1809, he received his first contract with the US Office of Indian Trade for trade rifles. He soon became the primary supplier of rifles to the Indian Trade Office for the government-owned trading posts. The original government contract called for Mr. Deringer to produce 2,000 .54 caliber flintlock rifles in 1814. George Moller in American Military Shoulder Arms, Vol. II, notes that Deringer trade rifles were sent to Prairie Du Chien, Council Bluffs, Fort Osage, and St. Louis as early as 1815. Although not as ornate as the elaborate pieces sold to the general public, a number of trade rifles such as this one did have some embellishments. Rammer is absolutely original with horn tip. Hammer holds on half cock but not on full. Condition is excellent for a rifle of this age with just a crack at one of the barrel wedge escutcheons and one of the barrel wedges is missing. A very rare and unmodified firearm with original uncleaned surfaces. Length overall: 60”. Barrel length:

Price Realized: $5,500

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