TRANTER REVOLVER BULLET MOLD FROM THE FIRST DAY’S BATTLEFIELD, EX- BOHON COLLECTION AND SHIELDS MUSEUM

$495.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 490-2445

This British import bullet mold has a tight provenance through Tom Bohon to the Shields Museum, which opened here in Gettysburg in 1925 near the Reynolds equestrian statue on the first day’s field and remained open and in family hands until the Park Service purchased the property in 1985, at which point the contents of the museum were auctioned off. Tom acquired one of the few groups to come out of that museum before the auction. In 1974 Shields’ daughter, who had run the museum since 1950, offered him the chance to buy one display case full of artifacts entirely recovered on the first day’s battlefield. This was literally just to create more floor space and the deal was “all or nothing.” He had the good sense to take the deal and he kept the group intact. We were able to buy some of this great collection after his death in 2019.

This is a very good condition mold for the imported British Tranter revolver. The English Connection notes these revolvers were mostly handled by retailers in New Orleans such as Guion, and Hyde and Goodrich, and were likely cased with accessories when they arrived. These were very popular throughout the pre-war south, however: the same volume illustrates a beautiful example retailed by T.W. Radcliffe of Columbia, SC,  and indeterminate numbers were also run through the blockade during the war: prize-courts adjudicating captured blockade runner cargos list cased British revolvers and accessories. In any case, many made their way into the hands of Confederate officers. To name just two of the more famous cases: Dabney Maury owned an inscribed 3rd Model; Jeb Stuart was presented a 4th Pattern by Heros Von Borcke.

There were several patterns and calibers, with their appropriate molds. The shape of the sprue cutter on this one is reminiscent of an Adams mold shown in the English Connection and it does not have a Tranter’s patent stamp, but the conoidal bullet it casts would lack the Adams “tail” and it matches the flat based bullet with deep cannelure of the Tranter. (See EC p.288-9.) This mold is marked “80” on the sprue cutter, indicating it will cast bullets for an 80-bore pistol, about .38 caliber. (Several 80-bore Tranters are illustrated in The English Connection.) The sprue cutter shows a little crustiness to the surface, but has a generally good surface and the bore designation is sharp. The brass body rates very good as well. There are a few small dings on the top edges of the arms, mostly near the pivot, but the brass has a nice mellow tone and both the arms and the sprue cutter move freely. It was likely an early pick-up and, not fitting most civilian arms, was not used by the finder.

This is a scarce mold with a tight Confederate connection, lost during the first day’s fighting at Gettysburg as Confederates converged on Union forces from the west and north, eventually driving them back through the town. It would look great among other Gettysburg relics, or with other British import weapons (so long as the provenance is preserved,) but especially with pieces associated with Confederate officers on the field.  [sr]

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