Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rare Georgia Made Silver Mounted Pistol Attributed to Wiley Higgins

This attractive highly decorated percussion pistol, made in the era of “Bowie Knives, Derringers and River Boats”, has a 5 ¾ inch full octagon .52 caliber smooth barrel. The pistol, obviously of Georgia manufacture, has been attributed to the famous gunsmith Wiley Grover Higgins Sr. (1799 - 1859). The finely engraved lock is surrounded by silver facing, typical of Higgins guns. (Reference page 60 of the book “Gunsmiths and Allied Tradesmen of Georgia". The pistol is elaborately silver mounted with silver trigger guard, butt cap, nose cap and two piece side plate. The silver decorative inlays are very similar in design to those on the Higgins pistols/rifles pictured in the Georgia book. The barrel tang is surrounded by silver facing and the checkered wrist features a full length silver grip strap. The pistol has a nice Walnut ebonized stock. Wiley Higgins was born in Laurens County, South Carolina after which he settled as a gunsmith in Monroe County Georgia and later in Macon County Georgia about 1850. Wiley Higgins is the most celebrated of all the identified early Georgia gun makers. A signed rifle by Wiley G. Higgins pictured in Joe Kindig’s “Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age” was described by Kindig as “by far the most artistic Kentucky Rifle of its period that I have ever seen”. That rifle is presently on display in Louisville Kentucky in the collection of the Frazer Gun Museum. In addition, a Higgins pistol is in the collection at Andrew Jackson’s home “the Hermitage” having been a family piece and gun attributed to Wiley Higgins pictured in the Georgia book was made for the governor of Arkansas. Included: Copy of the book “Gunsmiths and Allied Tradesmen of Georgia”. 

CONDITION: This pistol appears to be in very nice original condition throughout.  The finely engraved lock retains its original Fire bluing with traces of bluing also on the barrel. 4-49676 RG9 (18,000-35,000)

Copy and photos from James Julia.

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