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Re: modle 1868 ?
Posted by John S. on Tuesday, 13 October 2009, at 4:33 p.m., in response to modle 1868 ?, posted by Gene Gerring on Tuesday, 13 October 2009, at 2:57 p.m.
Gene- Most trapdoors with tin, nickel or chrome type finishes were the result of someone wanting to "fancy up" some guns for color guard or other ceremonial use. That seriously lowers the value on them to most collectors.
However, in 1870 and 1871 the Army experimented with the then-new process of nickel plating guns, in hopes of finding a finish that would help protect the gun from the weather. At least four different processes were tried, including those developed by Springfield, Bailey, Beardslee, and United Nickel.
Serial numbers are documented for 119 M1869 rifles which were plated for trials. The numbers are between 37040 and 49855 except for seven other widely scattered lower numbers which were among those done by Springfield.
Although yours falls within that range, your number is NOT specifically listed, and thus it is not clear if it was one that was officially plated for trial use, or a later job after it left military custody.
Some collectors (or at least this one) might be interested in this as an example of what one of the trial rifles looks like, but value is probably not worth as much as an unaltered rifle. Certainly a DOCUMENTED plated rifle would bring more than a standard rifle (at least from the folks who eagerly congregate here, although most collectors may not have the slightest interest.)
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