South Carolina Musket, ca. 1810

Value (2012) | $6,000 Retail$8,000 Retail
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GUEST:
I brought in a Civil War rifle that's been in my family at least since 1912, I believe.

APPRAISER:
What makes you think it's Civil War?

GUEST:
Because it says South Carolina on the plating, and I thought maybe it was used by the South Carolinian regiment during the Civil War.

APPRAISER:
Do you know who made it?

GUEST:
I don't know who made it.

APPRAISER:
Well, this gun's actually had a couple of lives. It was made in New Haven, Connecticut. And on the lot plate we have the eagle, "New Haven," and then on the back behind the hammer, we have "U. States." So it was made by Whitney in New Haven, Connecticut. And it's actually the same company that was owned by Eli Whitney, who's credited with inventing the cotton gin.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
But what's cool about this gun is where it went. On the back of the stock, we have "So. Carolina." It's interesting because Whitney had contracts with the state of South Carolina to supply them weapons. This gun pre-dates the Civil War.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
It's going to date from about 1810.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
They actually had a full-fledged contract in 1816 to do between 800 and 1,000 guns. This one is one of two things. It's either one of them that they had that they filled that contract with, or it's one that was already down in South Carolina at that time. That's where the South Carolina marking comes.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And it's very important on this gun, because it changes a gun that could have went anywhere to a gun that you know what state it went to. And we have almost a cookie- cutter design stamp on it that says the "28th."

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
That's unusual for these guns. Most of the time it just has the "So. Carolina." A lot of the guns you see these days have been cleaned from tip to tip. This one is what we like to call "attic mint." It's like after they used it, they put it back in the attic and just left it. This gun originally came out as a flintlock. It's been converted over to use a percussion system.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
That affects the value substantially because people like the guns as they left the factory. The conversion that's done on it from flintlock to percussion, that could be a Civil War conversion. The flintlock system was outdated at the time of the Civil War. This one's a smoothbore .69 caliber musket. Rather than just say, "Hey, we need new guns," they converted it, and that's called a drum style conversion. And that conversion actually fits in with it being from South Carolina because that simple, crude, hand-forged hammer like that is often referred to as a Confederate conversion. Because it's been converted, the condition it's in, it would be worth about $1,500 without that South Carolina mark. Because of that South Carolina mark, it appeals to a whole different level of collectors. Even in this condition, the retail value on this gun would be between $6,000 and $8,000.

GUEST:
What? $6,000 and $8,000?

APPRAISER:
And I think that's a little conservative.

GUEST:
Wow. I'm amazed, totally amazed.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Shiloh Civil War Relics
Savannah, TN
Appraised value (2012)
$6,000 Retail$8,000 Retail
Event
Boston, MA (June 09, 2012)
Period
19th Century
Form
Musket
Material
Metal, Wood

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