The Remington New Model Army firearms, which only came to light at the 2018 Las Vegas Antique Arms Show, had been estimated at $1m-3m at Rock Island (17.5% buyer’s premium) in Illinois at its May 13-15 auction.
They are believed to have been presented to Grant after he captured Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, securing the full length of the Mississippi for the Union.
The pair was given to him by Otis Nelson Cutler and William C Wagley, both veterans of the Mexican-American War. They were ordered through Schuyler, Hartley & Graham of New York City, the largest gun dealer in the country at the time.
LD Nimschke, one of the most renowned master engravers of the 19th century, was commissioned to execute the embellishment on the pair, which features grips carved with Grant’s portrait. The set came in the original rosewood case with the full complement of accessories.
The New Model Army revolvers began production in 1863 and became the second most issued sidearm of the Union armies during the civil war.
The May Premier Auction was the second-largest sale in the history of the Rock Island company. The Grant revolvers shattered the auction house’s previous house record set in December last year by the sale of a garniture of six arms presented to Napoleon Bonaparte for $2.5m (£1.88m), or $2.88m with buyer’s premium (see ATG No 2522).