Rock Island Auction Company is going to auction off a set of totally unique pistols this coming May. The pistols, dating back to the Revolutionary War, along with a set of epaulets, belonged to none other than Alexander Hamilton.
“These pistols represent Hamilton’s physical ability to wage war on the enemy. They are his physical ability to achieve Revolution and start the Republic,” states Rock Island President Kevin Hogan. “However, they also transcend arms specific collecting. They are an American institution in and of themselves, and an intimate way to be a part of the past.”
The pistols were presented to Hamilton, when he was a Colonel, by his father-in-law General Philip Schuyler. They were passed down through the family until they were sold in 1942. Included with the pistols are Hamilton’s epaulets from his Colonel’s uniform, which he wore while serving with General George Washington during the American Revolution.
A matching set, these smoothbore .58-caliber pistols have multi-stage barrels. All of the metal is engraved to some extent, with light scrollwork on the barrel, acorn finials and snowflake patterns on the trigger guards, and the side plates and pommel caps feature floral engravings.
They have Ed Nicholson maker’s marks and initials, with “A.H.” engraved on the wrist escutcheons in border engravings for Alexander Hamilton. They are in fine condition and are fully functional.
Rock Island expects this collection to set a new record. They estimate that it will sell for somewhere between $1 million and $3.5 million dollars.
“When one considers that in the last few years, a bottle of rare whiskey sold for $1.9 million, a baseball card for $5.2 million, a pocket watch for $31 million, a 1963 Ferrari for $70 million and a modern sculpture of a rabbit for $91 million dollars, it is obvious that high-quality historic arms have not even begun to reach their full potential.”
Not many Revolution-era artifacts belonging to the Founding Fathers have survived in such good condition to this day, and even rarer are those with solid provenance tying them to historical figures. It is exceptionally uncommon for pistols like these to be in private hands.
The history of these pistols has been meticulously documented since 1942 when Schuyler Hamilton III sold them to antique and firearms dealer Robert Abels. He included a signed, notarized letter from Hamilton describing the pistols as “the property of my Great-Great Grandfather, Alexander Hamilton.”
Hamilton III also signed a sworn affidavit stating that “The Field Service Epaulettes herewith were worn by Col. Alexander Hamilton while serving with General George Washington during the Revolution,” along with their history as they were passed on through the family over generations.
Other exceptional firearms that will go up for auction include a pair of revolvers presented to Russian reformist Tsar Alexander II and a Colt revolver that belonged to legendary Western gunslinger and lawman Bat Masterson. The three-day auction will start on May 14.