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Historic Cornelius V.S. Roosevelt Cased Lefaucheux Pinfire Shotgun  -

Item sold by Gregg Martin Auctions on 04/24/2006 for : $34,050.00

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Lot 785 Detail

The Important, Rare and Historic Cornelius V.S. Roosevelt Cased Lefaucheux Pinfire Shotgun, Custom Made for the Grandfather of President Theodore Roosevelt

Serial no. 1866, 12 gauge pinfire, 28 5/8-inch Damascus barrels engraved in olde English letters on breech of solid rib, "Lefaucheux a Paris"; each back action lock engraved beneath hammer: "LEFAUCHEUX"; bottom of right barrel breech stamped LEOPOLD BERNARD with crown and LB touchmark and touchmark of crown over starburst stamping; bottom of left barrel breech stamped CANONNIER A PARIS with identical LB touchmark and with identical starburst touchmark. Bottom of barrel rib with number stamping: 19526.1866. Bottom of barrel breech with LF stamping and logo and number 6256. On top of frame beneath barrel breech stamping at left, LEFEAUCHEUX 1866 and on right, LEFEAUCHEUX 770. Barrel release lever with relief gold inlaid intertwined monogram CVSR on bottom of barrel release lever within gold-bordered shield motif. Gray-finished steel. Profuse, elegant and often intertwined foliate scroll engraving, detailing often in low relief, on frame, barrel release lever, lockplates, triggerguard, upper and lower tang, and buttplate. Right side of breech engraved with hounds coursing running wild boar; left side of frame with hounds coursing wild stag; front panel of frame each side with game bird motifs, appearing to be woodcock on one side and grouse on the other; left lockplate with panel scene of pointer sneaking up on two game birds; right lock with pointer peering back over shoulder at rabbit in foliage; fox motif on top of breech; doghead in low relief on either side of thumb lever barrel release; eagle motif engraved on main body of release lever; triggerguard bow with roe deer and doe motif; rear tang of guard with pheasant game panel scene; goose motif on front of triggerguard bow; heel of buttplate with running rabbit motif. Oil-finished select walnut stock. Elegantly and profusely blind-tooled leather case, with brass hinges, sliding latches and lock; lined in red felt, with blind tooled compartment lids having turned hardwood pulls; the lid with leather trim; gold-tooled LEFEAUCHEUX embossed inside lid, with INVENTEUR and 37, RUE VIVIENNE PARIS. Accessories of rosewood handled tool with German silver mount, brass device marked JAMES DIXON/& SONS/SHEFFIELD and marked with 12 and number 1100C; powder measurer with rosewood handle; green primed pinfire paper shotshell with brass base, headstamp: SELLIER & BELLOT 12; single pasteboard wadding; gilded steel cartridge extractor. Brass plaque on case lid with CVSR engraved intertwined monogram; case embossed on top of both ends of lid: DEPOSE/S.L., likely name of maker. Lid with steamship stickers indicating of travels to Cologne, to England, and other European destinations.

Condition: Fine. 98% Damascus finish on barrel, light scratches and nicks at breech; excellent bore; minor surface patina on gray finished steel, more pronounced on buttplate; surface nicks and scratches on stock. Case and accessories fine with wear and patina on exterior; interior with light wear.

Note: Accompanied by folder of documenting letters, as well as photocopies of data from R.L. Wilson's Theodore Roosevelt Outdoorsman book (1971), pages 11-13; including illustration of young Theodore Roosevelt with his own Lefaucheux, on page 27.
Also documenting the Roosevelt association is a book by William T. Cobb, The Strenuous Life The 'Oyster Bay' Roosevelts in Business and Finance. The book presents data on Cornelius V.S. Roosevelt, particularly in chapter IV "'C.V.S.' and the Roaring Forties." By the time C.V.S. died in 1871, the firm of Roosevelt & Son, which he headed for years, "had connections with companies and banks abroad, in Holland and Switzerland notably. . . . [this] was essentially the work of C.V.S." He was also "a founder and one of the five original directors" of the Chemical Bank, in New York City. The book further notes: "[C.V.S.] was the founder of what we know today as 'the Oyster Bay Roosevelts' and the first Presidential grandfather in the Roosevelt family: for the immortal 'Teddy' was his grandson."

Provenance: Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt
Through generations of the family to John Alsop, his sister, and his brother Stewart. Accompanied by letter of December 21, 1976, from John Alsop, giving detailed provenance.
Cornelius V.S. Roosevelt was the grandfather of Theodore Roosevelt, and the great grandfather of Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt." The documenting letter mistakenly identifies Cornelius as TR's uncle, and Mrs. Roosevelt's great uncle.

Cornelius V.S. Roosevelt is the subject of chapter IV of The Strenuous Life (pages 34-46), with his portrait at the beginning of the chapter, and dates of his life given as 1794-1871. "C.V.S.", as he was known, was the sixth generation of the Roosevelt line in America. He was a founder of the Chemical Bank, a benefactor of the Roosevelt Hospital (founded 1871), and was president of the investment firm of Roosevelt & Son, all of New York.
The C.V.S. Roosevelt Lefaucheux will be pictured in color in R.L. Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt Hunter-Conservationist, a work in progress, with scheduled date of publication, fall 2007. Photographs of TR with his brother Elliott appear in this volume; TR is depicted holding his Lefaucheux shotgun, while hunting in the Midwest, 1880. The fact that Cornelius Van Schaack owned a like gun, and that Robert had highly recommended the type, would have impacted Roosevelt's father's choice of a gun for his precocious and outdoor-loving son of 14 years of age.

Theodore Roosevelt's first gun was a Lefaucheux 12 gauge pinfire, closely identical to that of his Uncle Cornelius. Bearing serial no. 20/1872, that piece is presently in the collection of the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Museum, New York, and appears in the Theodore Roosevelt Hunter-Conservationist book noted above. Theodore Roosevelt's uncle Robert wrote of this type gun in his Game Birds of the North (1866), stating: "The best and most generally adopted of the various kinds [of breechloaders] is the Lefaucheux, or some slight modification of it; and to that the attention will be principally directed. . . . The entire mechanism is so simple that it can hardly become deranged, and will last as long as the barrels. The greatest care is necessary in making the chamber that receives the cartridge of a proper shape, for if this is faulty the cartridges are apt to stick after explosion."

Estimate: $25000 - $40000

The Important, Rare and Historic Cornelius V.S. Roosevelt Cased Lefaucheux Pinfire Shotgun, Custom Made for the Grandfather of President Theodore Roosevelt

Reloading kit for pinfire cartridges (7mm & 9mm)

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