James D. Julia, Inc., of Fairfield, Maine, reports on their website that at their March 13, 2001 firearms auction in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, two Bilharz, Hall and Company carbines made in Chatham, Virginia were sold for remarkable prices, totaling over $80,000.
An “[e]xtremely rare Confederate rising breech carbine,” serial number 46 (as illustrated in Confederate Arms by William Albaugh III and Edward Simmons), sold for $60,375.
The auction catalog describes the carbine as follows:
EXTREMELY RARE CONFEDERATE BILHARZ, HALL AND COMPANY RISING BREECH CARBINE. This scarce Confederate iron frame single shot percussion carbine is .54 cal. with a 21" round barrel, secured to the walnut forestock with a single barrel band. The front sight is a pinched blade style with a three leaf graduated rear sight. The breech consists of a breechblock, frame, lock plate and side plate with a hinged lever which doubles as a trigger guard. The breech block is stamped “P” over “CS.” The butt stock is of black walnut with an iron butt plate. These scarce Confederate breech loading carbines fired a paper cartridge and are thought to have been manufactured by Bilharz, Hall and Company, Pittsylvania Courthouse, Virginia. It is thought that less than 100 were manufactured, and only a handful survive. This very carbine is the one illustrated in Albaugh's book on Confederate arms, see number 46. CONDITION: Very good. All metal surfaces are dark and uncleaned with a gray patina overall and traces of old grease in recessed areas. The stock is sharp with a small chip missing from near the lever/trigger guard tail. A square/diamond/cross insignia measuring about one inch, is lightly carved into the right side of the stock, possibly a corps insignia for the Union soldier who captured this piece. The gun is mechanically excellent and retains much character. A rare opportunity to acquire a scarce innovative Confederate carbine.
Another report of the auction advises, “Fewer than 100 of these were manufactured and very few of those survive. The rare carbine exceeded the estimated $27,500-$47,500 when it brought a final world record price of $60,375!”
The auction report continues, “Another Bilharz, Hall, and Co. carbine believed to have been made on contract to the Confederate States in 1863-1864 was one of 500 manufactured. It went out at $20,125.”
Prior to the sale, its expected value was listed at $10,000–15,000.
The auction catalog describes this weapon as follows:
BILHARZ, HALL AND CO. CONFEDERATE PERCUSSION CARBINE. This well-made Confederate cavalry carbine was reportedly made by Bilharz, Hall and Co. of Pittsylvania Courthouse Virginia, during the period late 1863 to 1864. Made on contract to the Confederate States it is thought that between 500 and 600 of these were produced and only a few survive. Essentially, a copy of the Springfield Model 1855 carbine, it has a 22" round barrel in .58 cal. The barrel has a pinched front sight and a single blade rear sight, stamped “CSA/P” at the breech. The iron button head ramrod is attached by a swivel. All mountings are iron except for the fore end cap, which is pewter. The M1841-style lock plate is unmarked and the circular sling swivel is attached to the rear trigger bow. Black walnut stock. CONDITION: Very good. Metal surfaces have been cleaned, showing areas of light surface pitting. Markings are clear. The stock has “WW” carved on the right side of the butt. Mechanically excellent. A rare Confederate carbine in quite nice condition.
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Copyright © 2001–2006 Patricia B. Mitchell.