RARE “Old Reliable” SHARPS Mid-Range .40-70 Rifle
1 of Only 700 “A” Semi-Custom M1874s, Most Shipped to Denver!
Here we present a rare antique “Old Reliable” Sharps Model 1874 “A” Mid Range Rifle in .40-70, made circa 1879 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Only 700 of these rifles were made in total, and most of them were shipped West to Denver, Colorado to dealers J.P. Lower and Carlos Gove. These rifles represent a wide array of features as they were assembled out of new-old-stock parts. This one features a 24-inch, part-round, part-octagonal, “Old Reliable” stamped barrel with a Lawrence rear sight and blade front sight. It has a Schnabel fore end with a straight gripped stock. The butt features a patchbox. Very desirable, scarce double set triggers round out the package. There is a good chance that this particular rifle is the only one with this exact set of features. The “A” stamp throughout and the serial numbers in the 200 001 to 200 700 range are both notable characteristics of these special rifles. This would have made a great hunting rifle with a capable cartridge and handy configuration. It is quite handsome to boot.
The top of the barrel also features the Bridgeport, Connecticut address. Near the breech is “CALIBRE .40”. The right side of the barrel is marked “MID RANGE 70”. This rifle also comes with a notarized provenance stating the chain of ownership from Jack Mercer of Colorado, who inherited the rifle from Judge William Robert Shaw (his father-in-law) of Aspen, Colorado upon his death in the 1970s, who inherited this rifle from his father Robert Shaw of the Aspen Transfer Coal, Hay, & Grain company. Robert’s name and association with this company can be documented to 1896 and probably beyond. The photo is of the judge of whom Tony Vagneur recalled in the Aspen Times, “Pitkin County Judge William R. Shaw seemed stranger than fiction when I was a kid. Nobody wore a suit and tie in Aspen except Judge Shaw, whom I imagined was never without his, even in sleep. He always drove around in a nondescript, big car, the make of which we never could be certain since it always seemed to be the only one of its kind in existence. Our geography class invited him to the high school one day, and he filled our ears about the history of Aspen and what had been going on in town since the demonetization of silver. His stock went up considerably (with us) after that presentation.”
The overall condition is fine. The barrel bears excellent blue finish, turned plum with the years. The case colors are visible and mostly silvered. The markings are clear. The numbers match. The walnut stock is in great shape. The bore is shiny bright and sharp. The action is excellent and strong. The rear set trigger can be adjusted. This is a very rare opportunity to own a true gem of a Sharps Rifle!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 24 inches.
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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