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Auction Date: May 6, 2017

Lot 2152: James Reid .41 Caliber Knuckle Duster Revolver

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Incredibly Rare Documented Factory Engraved James Reid .41 Caliber Knuckle Duster Revolver
Estimated Price: $25,000 - $40,000
Item Views 215 Bid Activity Average
Serial #James Reid .41 Caliber Knuckle Duster Revolver ManufacturerReid James ModelKnuckle Duster
TypeRevolver Gauge41 RF Catalog Page85
Barrel1 7/8 Inch Cylinder FinishSilver Plated GripSilver Plated Brass
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionOnly an estimated 150 .41 caliber knuckle duster revolvers were manufactured in a two year span starting in the summer of 1870 by James Reid of Catskill, New York. They are among the rarest of all of Reid's revolvers. According to "James Reid and His Catskill Knuckledusters" by Taylor G. Bowen, this is the second earliest surviving example of only 16 known. It is also in outstanding condition even without comparing it to the relatively worn down others, and when compared with the others, it is truly exceptional and the finest known remaining. Most of Reid's revolvers spent considerable time in pockets and retain little to no original finish whereas this example retains nearly all of its beautifully aged silver plating. Bowen indicated most had silver plated frames and blued cylinders making this factory full silver finish particularly desirable. It has two groove front sights; one each at the front and back of the top strap which is marked with "JAMES REID'S DERRINGER/PATD. DEC. 26, 1865." A sliding safety is at the front of the frame at the bottom. The cylinder pin and rear cylinder face are marked with the matching partial serial number "40." The full serial number is located between the trigger and the mainspring compartment door on the floral engraved frame. Like all of Reid's knuckle dusters, the revolver could be used as a brass knuckle if six shots weren't enough to put down your assailants. He called them "Knucklers" or "My Friend." Even the largest models are small enough to easily be concealed in a pocket. Like many of America's gunmakers in the 19th century, James Reid (1827-1898) was an immigrant. He was born in Belfast, Ireland, and arrived in the U.S. with his family in 1857. After initially living in New York City, he resettled in Catskill where he established his gunshop and a grist mill and eventually employed 17 workers. According to Ann Gibbons, after economic turmoil in the 1870s and 1880s and increased competition from more advanced firearms, he moved to Troy in 1883 and is believed to have worked at the Watervliet Arsenal.

ConditionExcellent. 95% of the original silver plating remains. There is only some slight loss at the edges and around the engraving on the right side. The silver and brass have attractive aged patina throughout and especially dark patina on the right side of the frame. The cylinder and other iron parts have some light pitting and oxidation. The engraving and markings remain crisp, and it is mechanically excellent. Reportedly the finest .41 caliber Reid Knuckle Duster known!
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