Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3175: Nimschke Attributed Engraved Sharps Model 2A Pepperbox Pistol

Auction Date: August 28, 2022

Outstanding Documented L.D Nimschke Attributed Engraved, Silver and Gold Plated, and Cased Sharps Model 2A Pepperbox Pistol with Book

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $7,500 - $12,000

Outstanding Documented L.D Nimschke Attributed Engraved, Silver and Gold Plated, and Cased Sharps Model 2A Pepperbox Pistol with Book

Manufacturer: Sharps C & Company
Model: 2A
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 30 RF
Barrel: 3 inch fluted
Finish: gold/silver
Grip: pearl
Item Views: 683
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 139
Class: Antique

This incredible Sharps Pepperbox is pictured and discussed on pages 352-353 of the included copy of "A Life's Tapestry of a Collector: The Gamble Collection" by George F. Gamble and R.L. Wilson where it is described as "an exhibition pistol of fine quality. Decorated in scroll and border patterns attributed to L.D. Nimschke, No. 7662 is of quality suggesting an exhibition pistol, or at least on a level for a discriminating buyer..." In addition to the scrollwork being recognizable as Nimschke's quality of work to those familiar with Nimschke engraved firearms, the entwining patterns on the barrels and back strap match others seen on Nimschke engraved handguns represented in his famous pull-book and reprinted in "L.D. Nimschke: Firearms Engraver" also by Wilson. See for example pages 13 and 16. The barrel cluster is gold plated and has an arrow motif on top, wavy line borders at the muzzles and breech end, and the noted entwining patterns on the sides with dots and burst lines. The silver plated frame has classic scroll engraving with beaded backgrounds, "C. SHARPS/PATENT 1850" on the left and "C. SHARPS & Co/PHILADA. PA." on the right, a "~" mark at the front, border designs, and the noted entwining lines down the back strap. The barrel group and butt have the matching serial number. It is fitted with a very attractive pair of smooth pearl grips. The pistol comes in a rosewood case with purple velvet lining, a UMC cartridge box with a picture of a Sharps Pepperbox on the lid and most of the cartridges remaining inside, and a blank inscription panel on top. The Sharps pepperbox pistols were manufactured between 1859 and the death of inventor Christian Sharps in 1874 in several variations and calibers. They were popular pocket pistols and found their way into classic late 19th century tales from the West as well as in the U.K. in Sherlock Holmes and others (likely representing the licensed copies made by Tipping & Lawden in London). Though all of these classic little pistols were chambered for rather anemic cartridges, they provided four shots in a convenient and attractive package and were certainly significantly better arms than many of the small derringers of their day. Over 100,000 were manufactured prior to Sharps's death. Provenance: The George F. Gamble Collection

Rating Definition:

Excellent with crisp engraving, 95% plus of the age darkened original silver plating remaining, 60% of the original gold finish remaining on the barrel cluster with darkening from age on the left and fading on the right where the pistol has been in contact with the case, a small void in the metal on the upper right at the breech, and some slight handling and storage marks. The grips are also excellent and have very attractive natural coloration and smooth surfaces. Mechanically excellent. The case is fine and has a couple of hairline cracks in the lid, attractive natural grain, and some fading and contact wear on the lining. The cartridge box is fine and has mild fading, some minor flaking, and generally light age and storage related wear. This is a beautiful cased set centered on a wonderfully engraved Sharps Pepperbox attributed to legendary 19th century master engraver L.D. Nimschke.

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