Alexander Hamilton’s Pistols Headed to Auction, Expected to Set New Records

in Historical Guns, Max Slowik, This Week
Alexander Hamilton's Pistols Headed to Auction, Expected to Set New Records
“Immensely historic and impeccably documented pair of national treasure flintlock holster pistols inscribed “AH”, and presented to Revolutionary War patriot, Founding Father and first United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton by General Philip Schuyler, accompanied by Hamilton’s field service epaulets worn by him while serving as an officer under Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and future first President of The United States of America, George Washington.” (Photo: RIA)

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.

Alexander Hamilton's Pistols Headed to Auction, Expected to Set New Records
“These pistols are universally recognized as being among the most historically significant weapons known to exist. Few firearms owned and used by founding fathers during the American Revolutionary War survive, and none that we know of (other than this pair) remain in private hands. Only two founders, Washington and Hamilton served in the Continental Army with distinction.” (Photo: RIA)

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.

See Also: Leading the Way on D-Day: General Huebner’s M1911A1 at Auction

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.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

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  • BR April 24, 2021, 1:12 pm

    These belong in a museum for all to appreciate.

  • Ej harbet April 23, 2021, 7:05 am

    Posterchild of shoot to stop the threat.
    Which mr burr did.

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