May 06, 2020 10:00 AM EDT Cincinnati


British Board of Ordnance Canadian Indian Presentation Rifle by Henry Tatham

24 Bore (.58 caliber), 30.625" wedge-retained octagonal barrel, S/N 32. Browned and blued finish, figured walnut stock with checkered wrist and raised cheek rest. Flat beveled flint lock with rounded, fenced and bridled water proof pan, roller frizzen and flat beveled swan neck cock. Lock with sliding safety at rear, platinum lined touchhole. Lock with lightly engraved decorations and further engraved Tatham in script under the pan. Lock and barrel remain in original flint configuration. Barrel with {crown}{broad arrow} and {opposed broad arrows} markings and a silver plaque set into the top of the breech engraved J Brant in script, with platinum bands on either side. Stock with same {crown}{broad arrow} and {opposed broad arrows} markings forward of patchbox, as well as what appears to be the number 32. Large blued Baker rifle-style patchbox in obverse stock engraved with panoplies of arms and geometric borders. Triggerguard with extended scroll to the rear, bow engraved with panoplies of arms, with additional fine engraving at the scroll and rear of plate. An engraved pineapple finial is present at the front terminus. Buttplate engraved with panoplies of arms and foliage themes as well. Barrel wedges surrounded by German silver escutcheons, with an additional lozenge shaped escutcheon at the wrist. Three-leaf rear sight with 200- and 300-yard folding leaves, blade front sight, horn forend tip, two blued steel thimbles and an entry pipe secure a horn tipped wooden ramrod with a ball puller at the end.

Henry Tatham (1770-1835) was a London gunmaker initially working at Firth Street and moving to 37 Charing Cross ca1800, where the firm remained until 1833, where he also worked in partnership with Joseph Egg ca1801-1814. He was listed as Sword Cutler & Beltmaker-in-Ordinary to King George III in 1798 and Gunmaker to the Prince of Wales in 1799. (Blackmore) He is probably most famous for producing presentation rifles for the British Board of Ordnance in 1816 for distribution to Canadian Indian Chiefs. Most of the remaining examples of these scarce and important presentation rifles are in the Royal Armories Museum as they were never distributed. Tatham also made lesser grade Indian presentation rifles for the Board of Ordnance as well.

This example has a silver plaque engraved "J Brant”. That would suggest the famous Mohawk chief Joseph Brant (1743-1807), who died in 1807. His son John Brant (1794-1832) fought on behalf of the English at the battle of Queenston Heights and other battles during the War of 1812, serving as a Lieutenant in the British Indian Department. We have determined that the plaque in the breech is a more recent addition likely added to enhance its historical importance and though well executed is incorrect. The rifle is a genuine Tatham Board of Ordnance Indian Rifle intended for Canadian Indian allies, the attribution and presentation are later additions.



Good to very good. Barrel cleaned to bright with some traces of brown underneath where it has been protected by the stock. Scattered minor surface oxidation and discoloration is present on the barrel. Markings on metal remain extremely clear and sharp. Lock in fine mechanical condition with some traces of niter blue on the hammer, which may be a well executed replacement. Patchbox with some on of the bright blue remaining and crisp engraving. Bore fine, with deep 11-groove rifling with sharp edges, showing some scattered oxidation and light pitting. Missing the lower barrel wedge. Stock with old added varnish and a poorly executed repair to cracks running from the lower wedge escutcheon on the obverse to the barrel channel, with a piece of chipped wood reset along the barrel line at the top edge of the stock. A competent wood repairman could significantly improve the appearance of this damage. Otherwise the stock shows only scattered bumps, dings and mars.

Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

Internet Bidding

Have a Similar Item?

Consign With Us

Let Cowan's Handle Your Shipping!

Cowan's Auctions is one of the only houses to offer full service, in-house shipping.  

Shipping costs are included on every invoice to make getting your items as fast and easy as possible. 

ADVICE TO INTERNATIONAL BUYERS. Cowan’s will not ship any package containing a firearm to any location other than within the United States. Buyers outside the United States must make their own shipping arrangements taking full risk for the transportation of any firearm.

For more information, click HERE or contact