The May 2022 Rock Island Premier Firearms Auction ended last weekend and the lot with the highest estimated price, a pair of cased Nimschke engraved Remington New Model Army revolvers that belonged to President Ulysses S. Grant, was sold for a whopping $5,170,000 ($4,400,000 hammer price plus the buyer’s premium), way over the estimated high price of $3M.
Rock Island Auction Company @ TFB:
Here is an excerpt from Rock Island Auction Company’s description of the sale followed by a video showing the actual process of selling this lot.
You could hear a pin drop in the auction hall. Quickly and steadily the bids continued their ascent until one collector could go no further. The other gained the distinct honor of being the first public owner of Grant’s Revolvers after nearly a century and a half of obscurity. As of their sale, they mark the second-highest price ever obtained in the field of fine arms collecting.
This pair of Remington New Model Army revolvers was presented to Ulysses S. Grant by Otis Nelson Cutler and William C. Wagley, Mexican-American War veterans and businessmen involved in cotton trading during the civil war, likely as a gratitude for the capture of Vicksburg that gave the Union full control over Mississippi river and made trading along the river safer. The backstrap inscription on the revolvers reads: “FROM YOUR FRIENDS / O.N. CUTLER. W.C. WAGLEY”. The ivory grips are carved with raised relief eagle, flags, and Columbian shield motifs and the bust of General Ulysses S. Grant. Grant’s major general rank on the grip carvings along with the fact that the Remington New Model Army revolvers were introduced in 1863 suggests that these revolvers were likely gifted to Ulysses Grant at the end of 1863 or the beginning of 1864.
This pair of revolvers remained in the Grant family for decades but then changed multiple hands and after over 150 years of being in personal collections was first displayed to the public at the Las Vegas Antique Arms Show in January 2018. And now this treasure of American history found a new home.
Pictures by Rock Island Auction Company,