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Colt Model 1861 Special Musket: What’s Its Value?

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Question: I recently had the opportunity to buy an 1861 Colt musket from my uncle who had it passed down to him from his dad. While I am not a huge gun collector, I do like to learn about the history of the guns I have. Could you help me with information about this musket, and what it might be worth? It seems to be in good shape, and I remember them shooting it 20 years ago. 

 -T.S. of New Park, Pennsylvania

Answer: The Colt Model 1861 Special Musket was manufactured by Colt from 1861 to 1865. Some 100,000 were built, the majority of them to satisfy state contracts, especially New Jersey, like yours, as indicated by its “N.J.” barrel stamping. Apparently, numbers of guns unable to pass government testing were also sold commercially during the Civil War and will not have the Federal eagle on the nipple drum, nor government inspector marks. Special muskets were made by other manufacturers including Amoskeag Mfg. Co., Lamson, Goodnow & Yale Co., and E.G. Lamson & Co. From what I can tell from the photos, condition of your rifle is not wonderful, so I’d value it in the $750 to $950 range.

-Garry James

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