Sold For: $3,130
Model: Tanegashima, Matchlock Handgun
Serial Number: NSN
Year of Manufacture: If this is an original, as we suspect, production would be from the 1500s to the mid-1800s. There have been modern reproductions made. Please see photos.
Caliber: Approximately .55 Caliber
Action Type: Single Shot Matchlock
Markings: The top of the barrel has three Tokugawa kamon inlays, two silver and one gold. There is a gold inlay at the rear of the barrel with characters/symbols we don’t recognize. There is decorative inlay on the front of the ramrod, the cock and the guard.
Barrel Length: The length of the bore is approximately 10 1/2” and the total length of the barrel is approximately 12”.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is blade fixed to the front of the barrel. There is a rectangular base fixed to the rear of the barrel which has a notch that can be used as a rear sight, there is also a hole in the top-center which may be used to mount something (see photos).
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is a one-piece smooth hardwood with a band at the front, brass-lined pass-through hole at the rear for feeding the match-cord, scallops on the forend for gripping, and a brass cap at the butt. The stock has thinning finish at most edges, some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches, and there is a crack on the top-left behind the brass bolster at the rear of the barrel. Overall, the stock is in about Good-Very Good condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: The iron/steel was likely either bright or browned with gold and silver inlays. There are brass fixtures.
Finish Originality: We don’t see any sign of refinishing.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with scattered light erosion and infrequent minor pitting.
Overall Condition: The iron/steel components show a dark patina with some scattered solid erosion, a few nicks and scuffs. The brass has a mustard patina with some scattered light wear. The inlays still have fairly good detail, though the silver has mostly darkened with age. Overall, this matchlock is in about Fair-Good condition as Antique (see mechanics).
Mechanics: The sear does not reliably hold the cock with both the cock and the sear having play. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. There is a swing-out pan-cover. The guard has a little play to the stock. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The ramrod stored under the barrel is included, showing similar patina to the barrel.
Our Assessment: The matchlock design first made its way to the shores of Japan in the mid-1500s, brought by Portugese explorers. They would go on to play a role in the end of the Sengoku period of warfare which ended with the victory of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The peace brought by the Tokugawa Shogunate, combined with the policy of Sakoku which isolated Japan from foreign powers, led the use of firearms to decline significantly, and didn’t see much motivation to improve on their design. The Japanese matchlock, or Tanegashima would see little use or development during this peaceful period. We suspect that accounts for the condition of this example which, if original, could have been made as late as the 1800s. It bears the kamon, or clan symbol, of Tokugawa and has appropriate design elements for an original. Please do see our photos as some more modern production matchlocks have been made, and good luck!
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This antique matchlock handgun can be sold in California.