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    George Armstrong Custer: A Marvelous Inscribed .22 Revolver Presented to Custer by the United States Volunteers in 1863. Inscribed on the back strap "B. G. George A. Custer from U.S.V. 1863," it was undoubtedly presented by his men when he received a field commission as brigadier general from Gen. Alfred Pleasonton and given command of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Division, Army of the Potomac. The gun comes with it original custom thermoplastic case with patriotic motif on the lid.

    The provenance is marvelous. It was auctioned in 1988 by a descendent of "Captain Jack" Crawford, the "Poet Scout" who had earned the good will of Elizabeth Custer by writing adulatory verse about Custer after Little Bighorn. By family tradition, this gun and a portable writing desk were gifted to Crawford by Custer's widow in appreciation. Both items, along with a number or other objects which belonged to Crawford, were loaned by the family in 1948 for an exhibition at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, celebrating the post's 100th anniversary ( a photocopy of the receipt received by the family, detailing the objects on loan, is included).

    In 2017 Heritage sold a copy of Crawford's book The Poet Scout, which praised Custer lavishly, along with his 1886 letter of presentation to Elizabeth Custer. Perhaps it was this letter which began the relationship which later led to her gifting the writing desk and gun to Captain Jack. To view the description and photos of that lot, please click here.

    Coincidentally, Heritage also handled the writing desk, which sold for $37,500 in our November 2013 Western Americana auction.

    The gun is accompanied by 1988 and 1989 letters from respected Militaria expert Eric Vaule and well-known firearms dealer John Gangel, who presented it at auction in February 1989. They are enclosed in a handsome custom bound volunme as shown. The current consignor purchased both the writing desk and the presentation revolver in that auction.

    This is a first model Manhattan .22 caliber revolver, serial number 5720. It displays the standard factory scroll engraving and retains strong traces of the original blue finish. The cylinder and frame both exhibit substantial traces of the original gilt finish, and the gun is fitted with its original pearl handled grips. The extractor below the barrel is missing. Action is good. Moderately pitted bore. Overall, the gun is in very fine condition, greatly enhanced by the presence of the original presentation case.

    Many firearms passed through General Custer's hands over the years. Clearly this is one which meant a great deal to him. In all probability, it was the first such presentation he ever received. Certainly one of the most significant Custer artifacts which has ever been our privilege to offer at auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    9th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,010

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