Alexander Hamilton’s War Pistols up for Grabs

Rock Island has the pistols that Alexander Hamilton carried in the Revolutionary War, set to go to auction in two weeks, on May 14. They left the Hamilton family’s custody in 1942 and have been in private hands ever since. 

The c.1760 Nicholson of London “banana lock” .58-caliber flintlocks, were presented to Hamilton following the historic Battle of Saratoga by General Philip Schuyler, Hamilton’s father-in-law, who had carried the guns in the French and Indian War.

He continued to use them while in the Continental Army as Lt. Colonel of Artillery and were likely at Yorktown where he helped run the siege guns and break the back of the British lines.

Headed to auction with a set of Hamilton’s epaulets, it is thought the auction could top $3.5 million.

The War Pistols of Alexander Hamilton are the most historically significant item ever offered by Rock Island Auction Company. Used in the combat that gave birth to the United States, the pistols were then presented to the man who would help shape its destiny for centuries to come.

Hamilton forever changed the timeline of the United States and these pistols provide an apt metaphor for his life at that time. Presented to the Founding Father by his father-in-law General Philip Schuyler, they are a giant in the field of American history collecting.

Items from the era rarely survive, let alone those of Founding Fathers. Given these pistols’ rarity, significance, and provenance, they may very well set the world record price for a firearm offered at auction.

Not to insert an Indiana Jones meme, but these guns “belong in a museum.” Hopefully, one with deep pockets can win the auction and institutionalize these artifacts.

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