Example of 1st U.S. military pistol up for auction (VIDEO)

The small New England firm of North & Cheney crafted 2,000 flintlock pistols for the U.S Army starting in 1799, and one of these rare guns is up for grabs.

Rock Island has a surviving specimen of these big smoothbore pistols with documentation from esteemed firearms researcher James M. Wertenberger in their September Premier Auction.

Based on the standard French Model 1777 flintlock pistol — stocks of which were supplied to the Continental Army by the fledgling country’s allies in Paris– the M1799 was the first U.S. martial pistol produced domestically. The American guns, however, had a number of differences including an additional barrel screw and shorter barrel while deleting the French gun’s belt hook attachment.

Estimated Price: $55,000 - $85,000 (Photo: RIA)

Estimated Price: $55,000 – $85,000 (Photo: RIA)

The guns were made by Simeon North and his clock maker brother-in-law Elisha Cheney in Berlin, Connecticut between 1799 and 1801, with the RIA example being in the second contract. These pistols are so rare that they are typically just encountered in the Smithsonian and other museums.

For those who want to go even farther back, RIA also has a Rappahannock Forge commercial flintlock pistol from the Colonial period.