COMING IN JUNE 2020
UNIQUE & INCREDIBLE BRASS 5-BARREL RIFLE, BY SMITH, RHODES & CO., MADE IN THE CONFEDERATE STRONGHOLD OF RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, CIRCA 1861.
inv # 01-17400
This unique & unusual firearm which dates to the early part of the Civil War was made by & signed “Smith, Rhodes, & Co.” on both the tear-drop shaped percussion locks. Barrel rib is engraved in script, “Richmond, VA”. The gun is around 41” overall, the barrel measures around 25”, top two barrels are estimated to be approximately 50 cal. smooth bore and are fired conventionally with a sculptured & finely detailed serpentine sea serpent hammers. The bottom three barrels consist of a central barrel which measured approximately 38 cal. smooth bore barrel with two approximate 31 cal. rifle barrel barrels on either side. These three bottom bbls are fired with unique “cocking trigger guard” which is rotated to line up with the nipple on the bbl to be fired. The trigger guard is engraved en suite to hammer in “Sea Serpent” design. Other than the bbls, the gun is iron mounted with low sloping butt stock. To our knowledge, this is the only 5-bbl brass American gun known to exist & thus, is unique among American firearms. The Smith & Rhodes hardware company was from Richmond, Virginia and was listed in a business directory in 1861. We assume that the gun was either an invention by Smith & Rhodes or it could have been special made for one of their patrons who asked for this unique design. It is truly an interesting & unusual firearm and the fact that it was likely made during the Rebellion in Confederate stronghold Richmond means that it was very possibly used by a Confederate during the war? This rare & unique multi-bbl rifle was displayed at the NRA Museum in 1993 as part of the Exceptional Arms of the American Society of Arms Collectors & was illustrated in their publication, “Exceptional Arms, (Celebrating 50 Years of Arms Collection Excellence from the Private Collections of the Member of the American Society of Arms Collectors)” American Society of Arms Collectors. National Firearms Museum 2003. See Extraordinary Arms Chapter Page 12.