Alexander Hamilton's Pistols Sell for $1.15 Million

History in Revolutionary War Flintlocks

I originally planned to be a historian. Immersed in local history and passionate about America, my love of shooting and old firearms grew simultaneously. Students of history, even those who don’t shoot competitively or at all, still see incredible value in arms. A pair of pistols carried by Alexander Hamilton during the Revolutionary War just sold for $1.15 million.

These artifacts helped break a world record, part of a $30 million dollar auction through Rock Island Auction Company that became the largest firearms auction ever. The pistols didn’t sell by themselves. They came well-documented, along with the epaulettes Hamilton wore as colonel serving under George Washington and letters of authenticity from Hamilton’s descendants.

Inscribed with the initials “AH,” General Philip Schuyler, Hamilton’s father-in-law, gifted the pair to the Founding Father after the Battle of Saratoga. Both flintlock pistols were .58 caliber with a 9″-round barrel and walnut stock. Very few firearms owned and used by the Founding Fathers during the American Revolutionary War exist today. (George Washington and Alexander Hamilton were the only two Founding Fathers to serve in the Continental Army with distinction.)

What is perhaps even more amazing is Hamilton’s arms stayed in his family until the 1940s — over 150 years — until Hamilton’s great-great-grandson Schuyler Hamilton III sold them. These are the only pistols known to exist with an unbroken line of ownership and family documentation preserved in notarized affidavits.

Though not proven, it is likely Major General Philip Schuyler, the original owner, carried them as an officer nearing the end of the French and Indian War in addition to his service in the American Revolution.

Hamilton played many roles in America’s founding, from serving on the battlefield and in state. Though Hamilton’s list of accomplishments and contributions are too extensive to list here, among them include signing the Constitution, shaping America’s financial/economic system as the first Secretary of the Treasury and penning most of  The Federalist Papers.