Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1152: Last Known Confederate Leech & Rigdon Percussion Revolver

Auction Date: September 12, 2020

Rare Documented Confederate Leech & Rigdon Percussion Revolver Serial Number 1461 Reported as the Latest Known

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $27,500

Rare Documented Confederate Leech & Rigdon Percussion Revolver Serial Number 1461 Reported as the Latest Known

Manufacturer: Leech & Rigdon
Model: NavyType
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 36
Barrel: 7 1/2 inch part octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened/bright
Grip: walnut
Stock:
Item Views: 1255
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 143
Class: Antique
Description:

This revolver is reportedly the latest Leech & Rigdon revolver extant. Though 1500 is often given as the estimated cutoff based on the contract with the Confederate government, Number 1490 is marked just for C.H. Rigdon. The serial number is listed in "Confederate Handguns" by Albaugh, Benet, and Simmons, on page 53, but they did not have any information on it other than that it was "believed to be standard" when the book was published in 1963. The Leech & Rigdon revolvers are among the most highly sought after Confederate firearms and are the finest Confederate made handguns. They were manufactured in 1863 and 1864 initially by Leech & Rigdon in Columbus, Mississippi, and then in Greensboro, Georgia, in 1863 and the last approximately 500 were manufactured by Rigdon, Ansley & Co. in Augusta, Georgia, in 1864. The main men involved were Thomas Leech of Memphis and Charles H. Rigdon of St. Louis. Together they first operated the Memphis Novelty Works in Tennessee which manufactured swords and some accoutrements. The Leech & Rigdon revolvers are well-made and clearly based upon Colt's popular designs. The revolver has Colt Dragoon style part round, part octagon barrel with a small brass cone front sight, "LEECH & RIGDON C.S.A." on top of the breech section, and a loading lever with ball style catch. The hammer has coarse knurling and a groove for a rear sight. The cylinder has six stops whereas the Rigdon & Ansley revolvers have twelve like the Manhattan revolvers. The barrel and cylinder were finished blue, the frame along with the loading lever and hammer were casehardened, and the brass grip straps were left bright. Matching serial numbers are located on the loading lever, wedge, cylinder, barrel, frame, trigger guard, back strap at the toe, and in the back strap mortise of the grip. The butt of the grip also has "WH" inside a diamond on the right (Captain Wescom Hudgins' inspector's stamp) and "W" carved on the left. The right side of the trigger guard has a "+" marking and a void.

Rating Definition:

Good with mostly bright iron mixed with moderate pitting and marks, deep aged patina on the grip straps, and moderate wear overall that is appropriate for a Confederate issued firearm. The grip is fine and well above average for a Confederate revolver and has glossy oil finish, some minor scratches, and mild edge wear. Mechanically fine. This is a very solid, all-matching Leech & Rigdon revolver and is the very last known with the Leech & Rigdon markings. It is certain to enhance any Civil War or antique revolving arms collection.



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