EXTREMELY SCARCE HARPERS FERRY .58 CALIBER GANG MOLD FOUND AT GETTYSBURG

$3,295.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 172-5762

This is a complete Harpers Ferry gang mold for .58 caliber Minie balls that is not only extremely scarce on its own, but has a good Gettysburg provenance, having been picked up after the battle by a member of the Zinkhand family, whose collection of battlefield relics largely went into the Rosensteel collection and eventually to the Park Service. This has a nice series of old tags with it laying out the provenance as passing to Harold Hartzell, a Zinkhand relative, and then passing by sale to Elmer Dillman and John Barrone.

The mold is iron with wood handles and casts four .58 caliber Minie balls, which might better be known as Harpers Ferry balls from their final development there by Acting Master Armorer James H. Burton. They were improvements on earlier French and British expanding projectiles and were adopted for use in the new U.S. 1855 series of arms. Molds were included in shipments of arms from the armory to the various subsidiary arsenals. Willyard includes correspondence from the Baton Rouge Arsenal whose workers were apparently using the cavity insert rods as drifts to swage the bullets, hitting them too hard resulting in deformed bullets that were also too large.

The side of the mold is stamped “58/100,” reflecting the standardization of caliber for both rifles and rifle muskets starting in 1855. The mold is in excellent condition with nice surface, finish, and color to both the wood and the metal which shows lots of old blue-turned-plum color and just minor handling dings with the caliber stamp very clear. The four cavity insert rods are made separately, and naturally show more rubbing to gray or steel color from handling.

Army ordnance wagons and teams from both sides were all over the battlefield distributing and salvaging arms. This may have been ignored when ammunition was on hand in thousand-round crates, but would have seemed potentially useful to a thrifty local farmer. [sr] [ph:m]

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