That’s a sharp Sharps
This modified Sharps New Model 1863 falling block in .52 caliber (475-grain) with a tang rear sight was donated to the Springfield Armory Museum in 1936, but as you can tell, the former owner likely saw a lot of service during the Civil War.
Mr. Sharps made over 120,000 of these quick-firing breech loaders in some of the most powerful black powder cartridges ever made. The wood on this gun has a series of German silver and mother-of-pearl adornments including seven major inlays on the forearm and 40 major inlays on the butt stock– most being Union Army Corps badges and insignia.
When acquired, it was cleaned and waxed to preserve it, though the curators had a fit with the gun.
“One of the dirtiest, rustiest and generally cruddy pieces we’ve worked on! Slowly and with great care (and difficulty) the weapon was completely disassembled with no harm done. Each metal part was washed, scrubbed with 0000 steel wool. The stock was carefully wiped down with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits. Everything was dried and waxed, internal parts lightly greased, and the weapon reassembled. Great wax as an adhesive for his inlays. The only thing not cleaned was the interior of the patch box which contained considerable traced of old dried patch grease. This appeared stable and because of its historic interest was left. Also we found the rotted remains of a coarse weave greased patch stuffed into the cavity of the breech block – anyone who has done much shooting with a percussion Sharps will know what this was for!”
More on the Sharps in question, which is on display at Springfield Armory National Historic Site, here