1863 DATED NEW JERSEY CONTRACT TRENTON MODEL 1861

$2,795.00

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Item Code: 218-567

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This is one of just 2,000 Model 1861 Rifle Muskets made by Burt and Hodge, contracting as the “Trenton Arms Co.,” for the state of New Jersey on two contracts dating September and October 1863. They delivered another 3,300 on two other contracts signed in July and September 1864, for a total of 5,300 rifle muskets.

The gun is complete and all original with a good fit of wood to metal and in fine-to-excellent condition. The barrel, bands, triggerguard and buttplate are bright finished and have toned to an even muted silver with scattered gray spots. The barrel is smooth metal, with the exception of a short, shallow, narrow scrape on the left just behind the rear sight. Both sights are in place. The rear sight is complete and shows thin blue. The lock and hammer show a mottled light and dark gray from original case coloring. The nipple is not battered and shows good color. The screw slots throughout are sharp. The markings are crisp: 1863 on the lock plate to rear of the hammer with eagle and U.S. / TRENTON forward. The barrel show sharp V/P/[eagle head] proofs at the left breech and an 1863 barrel date matching the lock date. The left barrel flat shows a crisp “N.J.” state ownership stamp. The buttplate tang has a sharp U.S.

The wood has a good, deep brown color with very good edges along the barrel channel, side flat and lock apron with just a couple of minor dings or slight abrasions. The buttstock shows some small dings on the belly near the buttplate. There are some short chips at the buttplate tang and toe, one short hairline from the buttplate midway up on the right and another a little higher on the left, all likely the result of a soldier dropping the butt hard to the ground. Everything is stable: both are hairlines and very short. The side flat shows a deep, legible script “N.J.” cartouche in an oval, which is a slightly postwar marking applied to weapons still in the state arsenal. There is a short hairline from the upper lock screw to the breech, a fairly common occurrence and stable as well. The wood around the breechplug tang is tight. The upper wrist shows a rack number, “51” stamped in the wood using small, separate dies stamps.

The mechanics are good. All bands, springs, sights, swivels and the ramrod are present. The bore has deep rifling and just surface grime that will scrub out to mint. The firm also supplied guns on contract to the U.S. government, though the business relationship between Burt and Hodge for that venture seems to have been somewhat loose. 11,500 rifle muskets were delivered on a contract by Burt from March 1863 through December 1864. Some authors add to that 10,500 delivered by Hodge from May 1863 through December 1864 also.

This is a nice, straight example of a Trenton contract 1861 with a good mid-war date. [sr]  [ph:L]

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