Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1133: Belgian LeMat Patent Single Action Centerfire Grapeshot Revolver

Auction Date: September 12, 2020

Very Scarce and Desirable Belgian LeMat Patent Single Action Centerfire "Grapeshot" Revolver

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $9,500 - $14,000

Very Scarce and Desirable Belgian LeMat Patent Single Action Centerfire "Grapeshot" Revolver

Manufacturer: Belgium
Model: LeMat
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44/20
Barrel: 4 1/2 inch round and octagon
Finish: bright
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 1618
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 129
Class: Antique

LeMat revolvers are most famously associated with the Confederacy during the Civil War as percussion revolvers, but they remained in production well-after the war ended. Centerfire LeMat revolvers were manufactured from the late 1860s until the early 1880s. Dr. Jean Alexander Francois LeMat received patents in the U.S. and Belgium in 1869 that covered a centerfire version of his famous double barrel handgun that combined a revolver with a central shotgun barrel that also served as the cylinder pin. He also received patents in France and led an American volunteer legion during Franco-Prussian War, was a negotiator during the French Insurrection in 1871, and developed early airships. Production totals for the LeMat firearms are not known. However, given that production of the more well-known and more often seen percussion revolvers numbered only in the low thousands, the centerfire revolvers from the late 1860s to the 1880s production totals were likely very low, possibly only a few hundred. There are very few surviving examples. The 1869 patented LeMats have separate loading gates for the shot chambers and the revolver cylinders and utilize pivoting arms on the hammers in order to allow the hammer to strike the firing pins at the rear of the shot chambers. The upper barrel is stamped "COLONEL LE MAT PATENT" on top and has a "crown/L" marking on the lower right flat. The nine-shot cylinder has Liege proofs. The matching serial number is found on the various components aside from the unmarked grips. A screwdriver is threaded into the butt, and the lanyard ring in bottom front of frame.

Rating Definition:

Very good overall with mostly smooth gray and light brown patina, minor oxidation, legible markings, and light scratches and marks on the metal and grips. Mechanically fine. This is a rare opportunity to get your hands on a distinctive and scarce centerfire LeMat "Grapeshot" Revolver.

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