SCARCE MINT CONDITION BRITISH EXPORT ENFIELD RIFLE MUSKET CARTRIDGE BOX

$1,595.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 490-5562

They don’t get much nicer in condition than this typical commercial or export pattern British cartridge box for the .577 Enfield Rifle Musket. The surface is excellent, with only a few minor scuffs; the seams are tight; the interior cartridge tin with dividers is in place; the blind-stitched white buff latch tab is in place; the shoulder sling retaining loops are secure and in place on the back; and, the brass fastening stud and both sling buckles are present and secure on the bottom.

These boxes are discussed in Suppliers to the Confederacy and in The English Connection and follow a pattern adopted in 1859 that was meant to serve as a magazine for the British infantryman to carry 50 cartridges in unopened packs of ten each, secured in separate slots in the tin liner of the box, and worn on a shoulder belt, with loose rounds for immediate use carried separately in an “expense pouch” (a.k.a. “ball bag”) worn on the waist belt. As configured for the army “rank and file” these boxes had an integral cap box sewn to the face of the body of the box and loops for a gun tool on the top of an inner flap. Those issued to the British army not only followed that pattern, but bore contract and military markings. Commercial versions for sale to British volunteer companies or export could differ. In this case, the maker eliminated the cap box and the tool loops, and for good measure the inner flap, all likely as cost-cutting measures, though some collectors term boxes without the cap box and tool loops the Pattern 1859/60 or Pattern 1860.

These boxes are discussed both in Suppliers to the Confederacy and in The English Connection, which notes large numbers were brought into the south through the blockade, or attempted to get through the blockade, most of which were both commercial patterns and unmarked, like this one, with a very few getting into Union hands by way of captured blockade runners. This is an excellent example of these boxes, correctly lacking British military markings, and used not as a magazine for reserve ammunition, but as a standard infantry cartridge box. The box is constructed of heavy black leather, with the flap correctly made in the British fashion, rough-side-out and blackened, with the latch tab made of white buff and blind-stitched to the inside of the flap. The seams are fully intact and tight. The rear retaining loops for the sling are in place, secure and tight. There are only the slightest bits of rubbing to the finish on some edges, natural points of wear.

This would make a great addition to a display of typical Confederate accoutrements, an infantry display, or a collection focusing on imported British arms and gear.  [sr] [ph:L]

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