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Lot 3067: Rare Collier Revolving Percussion Shotgun
December 6, 2009
Moline, IL, USALive Auction
Elisha H. Collier manufactured revolving flintlock and percussion rifles and shotguns circa 1818 to the mid 1820s with a total production of only about 150 of all types. Collier was from Boston, Massachusetts, however he went abroad to patent a flintlock revolving shotgun in England. Some believe that Collier couldn't get financial backing for his invention in America, however is has been established that Collier worked with or for Artemus Wheeler in helping to manufacture or perfect the revolving shotgun, and using the Wheeler principle, Collier patented it in England after Wheeler apparently lost interest in manufacturing and marketing the gun in America. These shotguns and rifles were built with the fine quality and workmanship of British manufacturers of the time. Colliers gun achieved considerable success and was the first revolving longarm (also made in pistol and pistol-carbine configurations) made and sold in substantial quantities. A key feature of the Collier built guns is the very tight gas seal between the breech of the barrel and the cylinder. The cylinder is held tightly over a protruding lip at the barrel breech by a piston wedge that forces the cylinder forward and has to be manually pulled back before hand revolving the cylinder. Collier's original patent described and illustrated a spring mechanism for automatic rotation of the cylinder when the hammer was cocked, however that feature was scrapped before production, so all Collier Revolving longarms have manually rotated cylinders. This particular shotgun features a concave solid rib marked "COLLIER & CO. 54 STRAND LONDON" near the breech end and the lock is marked "COLLIER & Co / PATENT". The left side of the barrel directly ahead of the cylinder is marked with the number "21" flanked by a "Crown / GP" and "crown / V" proof marks. The lower tang is marked with the serial number "197". The lock, hammer, trigger guard and top of the frame have broad floral scroll engraving with a bird on the lock. The cylinder is five round, fluted with exposed nipples. The barrel and cylinder are brown finished Damascus and the frame, lock and hammer were casehardened. Half solid under rib with short wooden, brass tipped ramrod and mounted with a checkered straight grip stock with a iron shotgun buttplate, semi tear drop flats and silver initial oval on the top of the wrist. This particular shotgun is pictured and identified by serial number on page 32 in the book "Early American Firearms".
BBL: 25 inch solid rib
Serial Number: 197
Condition Report: Very good. The barrel and cylinder retain much of the Damascus pattern with a thin brown patina overall. There is some scattered moderate pitting on the rib and barrel, and some minor pitting on the cylinder. There are traces of the original case colors on the frame, otherwise the hammer, frame and lock have a smooth brownish gray patina. The stock is good with most of the original varnish and showing scattered minor dings and dents. The markings are crisp and clear. Mechanically fine.