Spiller & Burr confederate pistol with holster

To Whom It May Concern, I have in my possession what I hope is a Spiller & Burr Confederate pistol. I bought the pistol at an estate auction in the late 1960s for $400. The frame of the pistol is brass and was electro plated with silver most of which has worn off. The frame has a crack below where it’s attached to the barrel. This crack is supposed to be very common in the brass framed Spiller and Burr pistols. The cylinder appears to be made from steel (not iron) that the original contract called for. The cylinder and frame are stamped with the serial number ten. The frame is stamped with CS. The barrel is octagonal and appears to be steel. Lastly, this pistol is stamped with SPILLER & BURR on the barrel where the last letter R in BURR is complete and is not a P as it appears on existing SPILLER & BURR pistols when a broken die was used for the stamping. The pistol appears to have been heavily used. The rarity and low serial number of this pistol truly make it a historical find if it is authentic. I am aware of the fact that this pistol was a popular counterfeited item after the Civil War. I have tried to authenticate the pistol as being a Spiller & Burr but have not been able to do probably because of the Spiller & Burr stamp on the barrel. The low serial number could explain this. Could the pistol be a sample or prototype in early design before the die was broken? What is particularly unusual is that the pistol has the original leather holster that evidently came with the gun in that leather rarely survives this length of time. Most of the information that I could find on Spiller and Burr pistols came from a book called Confederate Handguns written by William A. Albaugh, III, Hugh Benet, JR and Edward N. Simmons. The book states that the gun was based on a Whitney Navy model, caliber .36. Several contracts were agreed to between the years 1861 and 1864. That actual production began in 1863 which called for 15,000 pistols in three lots of 5000 each. the pistols were to be constructed with brass frames with steel cylinders and barrels. The frames were to be electro plated with silver and the guns would be eventually produced using materials that were available during the war. The pistols were initially produced by a manufacturer called SPILLER & BURR which was later bought out by the Confederate Government. Pistol markings and locations were variable. The total number of pistols produced by the two manufacturers out of a contract of 15,000 was approximately 1451. 762 were produced by Spiller & BURR and 689 were produced by the Confederate government. The lowest serial number known to exist in the above book was #72, the highest number was #1234. I am enclosing with this correspondence several pictures of the Spiller and Burr pistol. It is my hope that the information I have provided will stimulate your interest and give me suggestions as to what my next step should be. Sincerely, Michael W. Bachhuber N10103 Cty Rd YY Mayville, WI 53050 Phone: (920)387-4494 Sincerely


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Mearto specialist

June 3, 2024
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Hello, Thank you for choosing Mearto for your online appraisal. I apologize for any inconvenience caused. It seems your item was previously assigned to an expert who is no longer with Mearto. If you have any further questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to Lindsey, our Managing Director, directly at lindsey.bourret@mearto.com. She will be more than happy to assist you further. Thank you for your understanding. Regarding your item: This item is a Spiller & Burr Confederate pistol, a rare and historically significant piece with notable features. The pistol's frame is made of brass, which was originally electroplated with silver, although much of the plating has worn off over time. A characteristic crack is present below where the frame attaches to the barrel, a common occurrence in brass-framed Spiller and Burr pistols. The cylinder is constructed from steel, as specified in the original contract, and both the cylinder and frame bear the serial number ten. Additionally, the frame is stamped with "CS," indicating its Confederate origin. Notably, the pistol is stamped with "SPILLER & BURR" on the barrel, with the last letter "R" complete, unlike other pistols where the last letter appears as a "P" due to a broken die during stamping. This suggests that the pistol may be a sample or prototype from an early design phase. The Spiller & Burr pistol was based on the Whitney Navy model and was produced under several contracts between 1861 and 1864. Actual production began in 1863, with the pistols featuring brass frames, steel cylinders, and barrels. These pistols were initially manufactured by Spiller & Burr before the company was later bought out by the Confederate Government. Markings and locations on the pistols varied, contributing to the historical intrigue surrounding these firearms. Out of a contracted 15,000 pistols, only approximately 1451 were produced by both manufacturers combined, with Spiller & Burr producing 762 and the Confederate government producing 689. The lowest known serial number is #72, and the highest is #1234. Given its rarity and low serial number, this pistol represents a significant historical find, offering valuable insight into Confederate firearm production during the Civil War era. It is in good condition overall. Thank you for submitting your item and I hope that you have nice day! Kind regards, David U.