Fine Cased Tranter Revolver - Plated with Carved Ivory Grips
- Product Code: FHG-1172-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a Very Fine and rare example of a presentation grade, single trigger Tranter’s Patent percussion revolver. The gun is nickel plated, engraved and adorned with carved ivory grips featuring the classic American Eagle over Shield motif. The gun is cased with a full complement of accessories. The revolver has the features and attributes that make it likely to have been retailed by the New York firm of Schuyler, Hartley & Graham. Schuyler, Hartley & Graham was a military equipment and outfitters retailer that was established in 1860. While they provided standard grade arms and military goods to those who wanted them, they had a very strong customer base among military officers who had to provide their own equipment and weapons. The Schuyler, Hartley & Graham catalog of the mid-1860’s clearly catered to higher end customers who would want to purchase enhanced and customized items. They were famous for retailing high-end Colt revolvers that had been plated, embellished with fine engraving from the shop of L.D. Nimschke and the addition of ivory grips that were often carved with patriotic motifs. The carved ivory Eagle / Shield motif grips on this revolver are of the same style found on a number of the Nimschke engraved Colt percussion revolvers retailed by Schuyler, Hartley & Graham. Additionally, Tranter revolvers are practically never found with a plated finish, however, Schuyler, Hartley & Graham regularly had these high-end pistols (that were offered with carved ivory grips) plated with nickel or silver. This rare example of a British Tranter 4th Model percussion revolver is a classic example of the type of extravagant revolvers that Schuyler, Hartley & Graham offered to well healed US military officers during the American Civil War.
The pistol offered here retains about 90%+ of the original Nickel plating, with the majority of the wear on the high edges of the frame and leading edges of the cylinder. As is typical of plated finishes, the wear is more like light flaking, and there are only a few areas that show any thinning of the finish. The nickel remains so bright and shiny htat it was quite difficult to photograph the pistol due to reflections on the finish! The pistol is the classic 5-shot, 54 Bore (about .44 caliber) “Army” sized revolver. The pistol has a 6” octagon barrel with a fine bore with sharp rifling. The chambers of the cylinder show some dirt and grime, indicating that the revolver was actually used at some point in time. The action of the single trigger Tranter is a modified double action, similar to that found on M-1858 Starr revolvers. The action of the trigger rotates the cylinder and cocks the hammer, and the spur on the rear of the trigger actually trips the sear inside the frame of the revolver. The revolver is equipped with the typical 3rd Model Tranter frame mounted loading lever that works very similarly to the Kerr’s Patent lever found on many Adams revolvers. The forward, lower portion of the left side of the frame and the loading lever are both marked in a 2-line, cartouche style mark, TRANTER’s PATENT. The right side of the frame is marked below the cylinder No 13619 T. The “serial number” is actually a patent tracking number to count the number of frames produced under Robert Adams solid frame revolver patent. The T-suffix indicates that Tranter manufactured this gun. Adams assigned specific serial number ranges to the various makers who produced guns under his patent. The action of the revolver works perfectly and the revolver times and indexes as it should. The cylinder retains all of the original cones (nipples) and they are in fine condition. The original front site is present in the dovetail at the front of the barrel as well. As previously noted, the gun is embellished with some light scroll engraving, primarily on the frame, but also on the butt-cap, the end of the barrel and the backstrap. The gun sports a wonderful set of custom one-piece ivory grips that feature an American Eagle perched on a Shield, carved in high relief on the left hand side. The grips are in about Very Good condition, and have a wonderful rich, aged color them. The grips do exhibit some shrinkage and some minor cracking and slivering. The left grip shows some minor repairs along the edge of the grip strap that are clearly shown in the pictures below. Minor chipping is visible on both sides along the grip frame. Ivory grips often show cracking and slivering if the gun actually experiences much use. While most cased, presentation grade revolvers clearly never fired a shot, the light wear patterns on the metal of the gun, the residue in the chambers and the light roughness and debris on the rear face of the cylinder, indicate that this gun was carried some and fired at least a few times.
The gun comes in a typical English oak case that is clearly original to the gun and appears to have the original green felt lining. The case has a thin added layer of varnish that has been added at some point in the past, which has done a nice job of preserving the case. The case is missing both the brass nameplate escutcheon from the top of the case as well as the one that surrounds the keyhole on the front of the case. The key is also lost to the ages. The case contains a number of implements and accessories for use with the pistol. These include:
-A brass, dual cavity, conical ball bullet mold, that is marked No 54, for 54-bore caliber
-An attractive, ribbed & beaded dual cavity powder flask (Riling #245) that has a dent on one side
-An un-opened tine of F Joyce & Co percussion caps
-An ebony handled turnscrew (screwdriver)
-An ebony handled cone (nipple) wrench
-A rosewood cleaning rod with removable brass jag
-A pewter oil container
The accessories are all in very nice condition and truly add to the overall look and appeal of this wonderful revolver. As with any cased set, it is nearly impossible to determine if the accessories that are currently in the case are original to the casing or not. They are, however, all of the correct style and period and would be absolutely correct for use with this gun.
If you are a collector of fine Civil War revolvers I can almost guarantee that you don’t own a nickel plated Tranter with carved ivory grips. This fine revolver could easily become the centerpiece to any Civil War handgun collection or a display of Civil War officer’s items. While it is not likely, it is also possible that this revolver may have been sold into the South as well. It is well documented that Southern sympathizers would purchase fine cased revolvers in New York from Schuyler, Hartley & Graham and smuggle them South for the use of Confederate generals and other southern officers. General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson owned a cased Adams revolver that was purchased in this fashion from Schuyler, Hartley & Graham. While I hesitate to call this a one of a kind revolver, I do know that plated Tranters are extremely rare and ivory gripped ones are even rarer. This is a wonderful opportunity to obtain a truly fine and rare Tranter with a neat connection to the American Civil War that is worthy of some additional research. For what it is worth, a very similar Colt M-1861 Navy revolver, attributed to Schuyler, Hartley & Graham, with a plated finish and carved ivory grips recently sold at auction for $20,000 - and it did not have a case and accessories. That sort of makes this unique revolver look like a really good deal!
An interesting addendum regarding Tranter serial numbers that have been recorded and dated, indicating that this pistol was likely produced in 1861 or early 1862:
#13362T was sold in 1862 and the case has a receipt so dated with it.
#13442T is dated 1861.
#13773T has an 1862 presentation engraved on it.
#'s 11372T & 11844T are documented as CS used.
#'s 15465T & 15476T are on the Pratt List of revolvers possessed by 18th VA Cavalry, Co H, CSA.