A significant and rare pair of revolvers presented to Civil War general and 18th President Ulysses S. Grant sold Friday at Rock Island Auction Company for a record $5.17 million on the opening day of the company’s three-day May Premier Auction. Grant’s revolvers led the way in the $28.2 million auction, the second largest in the company’s history. The magnificent, cased set of Remington New Model Army revolvers was estimated to sell for $1 million to $3 million. Bidding started at $800,000. Grant’s Remingtons soared past RIAC’s previous top seller, a garniture of six arms presented to Napoleon Bonaparte that realized $2.875 million in the company’s December 2021 Premier Auction.

“We are seeing remarkable prices in the collectible firearms market, and this is a tremendous example,” RIAC President Kevin Hogan said. “It’s an honor to be the company that people come to with their elite and historic firearms. Just last year we sold Napoleon’s garniture, Alexander Hamilton’s Revolutionary War flintlock pistols and John Wayne’s Colt Single Action Army.”

Grant’s Remingtons, numbered 1 and 2, are arguably the most significant firearms discovered from the Civil War. The set is covered with the artistry of L. D. Nimschke, one of the most renowned master engravers of the 19th century, and features grips carved with Grant’s portrait. They come nestled in their original rosewood case with full complement of accessories. The pair of revolvers only came to light just recently at the 2018 Las Vegas Antique Arms Show.

The Remington revolvers are being called an American treasure and drawing comparisons to President Abraham Lincoln’s gilt and engraved Henry rifle or President George Washington’s flintlock pistols. They were likely presented to Grant after he captured Vicksburg on the Fourth of July in 1863 and thus secured the length of the Mississippi River for the Union. RIAC’s May Premier Auction also included arms from well-known figures such as Wild Bill Hickok, Frank Sinatra, J. Edgar Hoover and a Colt Single Action Army revolver documented as a battlefield pickup at the Little Bighorn.

A firearms auction house in Illinois has sold President Theodore Roosevelt’s Colt revolver for $1.4 million. The sale came on the second day of Rock Island Auction Company’s three day December event dubbed “The Sale of the Century.” The Colt Single Action Army revolver was ordered as a gift for Roosevelt’s 54th birthday. Factory engraved and silver plated, it was shipped four days before his birthday, just over a week prior to the election of 1912, and ten days prior to his assassination attempt in Milwaukee, WI.

Roosevelt’s Colt was one of several firearms belonging to famous figures from history. Others included Elvis Presley, Annie Oakley, the “Father of Montana” Granville Stuart, Emperor Franz Joseph, General John “Black Jack” Pershing, and Tom Selleck.

Despite the hardships 2020 has brought, it proved to be another record year for RIAC, who again broke their own industry record by reaching $91.7 million in annual sales, with one auction still remaining this year. This was aided by the December auction, now the largest firearms auction ever held, which brought just over $22 million.

“What we’re seeing is the growing realization of the history and investment potential of these objects,” said RIAC President Kevin Hogan. “Year after year these numbers increase and it’s no coincidence. People love holding history in their hands, and have always wanted to possess what is beautiful. Collecting fine arms satisfies both.” These results are in tune with an American upsurge in firearms ownership during a year filled with civil unrest and election concerns.

By Rock Island Auction Company Press Release