At their upcoming May 2021 Premier Firearms Auction, Rock Island Auction Company will be offering a true treasure of American history, a pair of flintlock pistols that belonged to none other than Alexander Hamilton himself. Although over the years, RIAC has sold a number of unique, one of a kind historical firearms like Theodor Roosevelt’s Colt SAA or “The Danish Sea Captain” Colt Walker (the current record holder of most expensive single gun sold at an auction), this lot that contains a set of pistols owned and used by a Founding Father, has the highest estimated high price ($3,500,000) the company ever listed in their catalogs.
This pair of pistols was presented to Alexander Hamilton after the Battle of Saratoga (1777) by Major General Philip Schuyler, Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law. Hamilton was likely carrying these pistols during the Siege of Yorktown (1781), one of the last major battles of the American Revolutionary War. The pistols have been a Hamilton family heirloom until Schuyler Hamilton III, Alexander Hamilton’s great-great-grandson, sold them in 1942 to antique and firearms dealer Robert Abels.
These .58 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistols were manufactured in the 1760s and restocked in American walnut circa 1770. The wrist escutcheons bear Alexander Hamilton’s initials. There are also London proof marks, the maker’s (Ed Nicholson) name and floral motifs engraved on different parts of the pistols.
Besides the pistols, the lot also includes Alexander Hamilton’s field service epaulettes which he wore while serving under the command of George Washington who back then was the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Letters and articles documenting the provenance of the pistols are also included in the lot. This is really a rare opportunity for collectors to add such an incredible artifact of American history to their collections. I think chances are high that these pistols will set a new world record.