This revolver from c. late 1874 or early 1875 is one of the first 100 Remington Model 1875 revolvers off the line and is certainly one of the finest extant today both in terms of condition and its embellishment. These early "First Type, First Issue" revolvers were originally going to be .46 caliber rimfire but were instead released in .44 Remington Centerfire. After 1878, most of the Model 1875s were chambered for .44 Winchester Centerfire or .45 Colt. This revolver features the distinctive early production "First Type, First Issue" hammer that was factory modified from rimfire to centerfire, the First Type lanyard loop on the butt, and the First Type "pinched" blade front sight threaded into the barrel. Its matching two-digit serial number, "81," is marked on the rear face of the cylinder, the trigger guard tail, and the left side of the frame at the heel. The barrel has "E. REMINGTON & SONS. ILION. N.Y. U.S.A." reading from the breech towards the muzzle. The revolver is beautifully engraved with extensive engraving mainly consisting of flowing scroll designs. The extent of the engraving combined with the pearl grips and the low serial number suggests this revolver was possibly selected for engraving as a factory exhibition piece to help promote Remington's new design. For those that have had the privilege of studying and handling multiple documented Nimschke engraved firearms, there can be little doubt that this revolver was engraved by Louis D. Nimschke, and Nimschke is known to have been tasked with engraving firearms for Remington and other leading firearms companies for exhibitions as well as important presentations such as the factory engraved Remington New Model Army revolvers that were presented to Ulysses S. Grant and previously sold by Rock Island Auction Co. for $5.17 million in May of 2022. The scrollwork is classic Nimschke, and the overall style of the engraving, including many of the finer details, matches documented examples from Nimschke's pull book. Note, for example, the "kidney" design behind the hammer which has been seen on other Nimschke engraved revolvers such as those shown in the pulls on page 44 of "L.D. Nimschke: Firearms Engraver" by R.L. Wilson. The entwining line design behind it was also a motif used by Nimschke, and the "Nimschke stars" on the sides of the frame at the breech and the trigger guard bow were also used by Nimschke in the same locations of other revolvers (see pages xxxix, 18, 24, 36, and 38 of Wilson's book for one example). Despite consistent use of some designs, Nimschke's work was also very varied and creative. Note for example the use of "cascading" wave-like scrolls down the sides of the web. A few other low serial number First Issue Remington Model 1875s are also known with Nimschke attributed engraving suggesting a batch of revolvers may have been sent to his shop for embellishment. At least one has very similar designs on the webbing and arbor pin housing, but the other designs on that revolver varied. It and the other early examples are nowhere near as high condition as the current revolver and do not have as extensive of engraving. A comparison of this revolver with the pair of Colt Single Action Army revolvers on page 226 in the "L.D. Nimschke" chapter of "Colt Engraving" by R.L. Wilson is also helpful. That pair features very similar engraving on the barrels, "Nimschke stars" on the left sides of the frames like the current revolver, and checkerboard and dot patterns at the breeches that are similar to the design on below the loading gate on this Remington. The early Colt Single Action Army revolvers on pages 220 and 221 of Wilson's book also feature stars in similar locations as the current revolver, a similar design on the loading gates, and similar barrel engraving. Provenance: The Robert Peterson Collection; The Greg Lampe Collection
Excellent with crisp engraving throughout, distinct markings, 90% plus of the original nickel plating remaining, loss mainly confined to one patch of flaking on the cylinder, and otherwise only slight handling and storage marks. The grips are also excellent and have beautiful natural colors, a few very minor flakes at the lower edge, and slight handling wear. Mechanically excellent. This is certainly one of the finest of all Remington Model 1875 Army revolvers, especially of the "First Type, First Issue" variety and features absolutely stunning engraving.
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