Chapman Confederate Musketoon
Appraised Value: $20,000 - $30,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:57)
Arms & Militaria
Bonhams & Butterfields, SF
GUEST: This gun has been passed down in my family. My aunt gave it to me. It was found by my great-grandparents, her grandparents. They used to buy and remodel homes in the early 1900s in Pennsylvania. And when they bought one of the homes to remodel, they found this in the basement. And they thought it looked old and kind of neat, so it's just kind of stayed in the family since. There's a name on it, it says C. Chapman. So we've done some research to see what that meant. What I found said that it could be a Confederate musket rifle. About 100 of them made is what it said. I've seen some appraisals, you know, online or in books that were like about $15,000. But I don't even know if it's that type of a weapon.
APPRAISER: How do you know it's real, though?
GUEST: I don't. You know, just based off that it was stamped, there's C. Chapman on it, and on the back there's a stamp with the number eight on it.
APPRAISER: And it looks like there's even a little number eight right here on the butt plate too.
GUEST: Oh, I didn't know there was one at the end.
APPRAISER: And again, the only other real marking appears to be the C. Chapman there on the lock.
APPRAISER: Believe it or not, I have never seen one of these guns before.
APPRAISER: I was a little cautious at first because there are a number of fakes out there.
GUEST: Oh right, right.
APPRAISER: The gun is fairly crudely made.
APPRAISER: Which is exactly what I would have expected it to be. Because during the Civil War, the manufacturing of firearms was really concentrated in the North. So there was really sort of a rush in the South to make these firearms very rapidly because they needed them in large quantities. It's a percussion muzzle-loading gun. It would probably be referred to as a musketoon due to its short barrel. I don't think much is known about Mr. Chapman other than the fact that he probably was from the Nashville, Tennessee, area. And he patterned this gun after the U.S. model 1841, also known as the Mississippi rifle. Jefferson Davis, who's from Mississippi, had led a regiment during the Mexican War. And the U.S. model 1841 was named the Mississippi rifle because of his use during the Mexican War. So maybe it was Mr. Chapman's efforts to try to solicit a contract from the Confederacy at the time.
GUEST: Was it made in the South then?
APPRAISER: Probably near Tennessee.
GUEST: Near Tennessee.
APPRAISER: Very little is known because obviously, Mr. Chapman probably did not get the contract. So as such, whatever was known about him has faded into obscurity. They estimated that about 100 of them were made, but 100 of them haven't survived.
APPRAISER: And with regard to the condition, it's in fairly poor condition. It's in cracks. I wouldn't touch this thing. Even though it looks rough, that's what you really expect. These are very desirable on the market. At auction, I would think that this gun could easily bring $20,000 to $30,000.
GUEST: Really? Wow.
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