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    General Albert Sidney Johnston's Dueling Pistol, ca. 1850

    Appraised Value:


    Appraised on: July 10, 2010

    Appraised in: Miami Beach, Florida

    Appraised by: Christopher Mitchell

    Category: Arms & Militaria

    Episode Info: Miami Beach, Hour 1 (#1501)

    Originally Aired: January 3, 2011

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 2 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Pistol
    Material: Metal, Wood
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $12,000

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    Appraisal Video: (3:45)


    Appraised By:

    Christopher Mitchell
    Arms & Militaria
    J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: What I know is that it's a dueling pistol, and it was given by General Albert Sidney Johnston to his son, William Preston Johnston, who, I guess, then gave it to... there's another name on the gun. I think it's Robinson.

    APPRAISER: It's Robinson, yes, ma'am.

    GUEST: George Robinson, right. My father was a collector of antique guns. And when each of us turned 18 years old, we got to pick one of his guns. And I was the first one to turn 18. The historical part of this was fascinating to me. I know a little bit about Albert Sidney Johnston. That he was one of the highest-ranking generals in the Confederacy, but he was killed very early in the war in 1862.

    APPRAISER: And do you know anything about his son?

    GUEST: I know that the son did become a lawyer, and that's about all I know.

    APPRAISER: Mr. Robinson we don't know anything about?

    GUEST: I don't know anything about him.

    APPRAISER: Okay, well, it is an English dueling pistol. If we pull it out of the box, we're going to see that there's a silver plaque on the side and it reads, "From General Albert Sidney Johnston "to William Preston Johnston. And then there's a line, and then it says, "To George A. Robinson, from William Preston Johnston." So we know of three different owners.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: Albert Sidney Johnston, the general from the American Civil War, he was killed April 6, 1862, at the Battle of Shiloh. He was in command of all the troops in the West. He was absolutely considered in the South to be one of the most brilliant tacticians that was available for the war. His son is also a very interesting person. William Preston Johnston was actually a colonel in the Confederate army. And he was the aide-de-camp to Jefferson Davis. And, as a matter of fact, he was with him when they were captured in Georgia. And, as a result, he himself was imprisoned. After the war, he was very well thought of. No one less than Robert E. Lee himself asked him to come and speak at Washington College. He subsequently becomes president of Louisiana State University.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: And then from there, he's a major part in forming Tulane, and he becomes president of Tulane University.

    GUEST: Oh, my goodness.

    APPRAISER: I think the one crack that's hard to fill is who is Mr. Robinson? Well, he married Johnston's-- the son's-- third daughter, Rosa.

    GUEST: Oh, my goodness.

    APPRAISER: I believe that this plaque was attached when that marriage happened.

    GUEST: I see.

    APPRAISER: There's no question that this gun belonged to Albert Sidney Johnston, because we have it from a direct descendant. I think he gave it to Robinson as a gift, and that's when this plaque was attached to the gun. There would have been two guns in this box. This tool actually doesn't go with the case.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: Some of the other smaller tools are just added later.

    GUEST: Uh-huh.

    APPRAISER: The gun itself's not very intricately embellished. It's missing a silver band that goes around the butt cap here. There's a ridge that came down with a channel for a ramrod that actually went under it that's been broken off. The case is in a little bit of disarray. So just as a gun in box, it's not terribly valuable. Maybe retail, if you saw this for sale with a single pistol, nice English casing-- $2,500. Something like that. But, because you're talking about Albert Sidney Johnston, whether it be in the North or the South, it would be something that would drive interest. And then you have this nice movement through his family, and then the gun actually belonged to someone else, who was also very important in the Confederacy, being the aide-de-camp to Jefferson Davis. I think, retail, you might expect this to actually bring around $12,000.

    GUEST: Oh, my goodness.

    APPRAISER: It makes that big of a difference.

    GUEST: Oh, my goodness. Oh, that's incredible. Oh, my father would be so excited. Wow. Thank you so much.

    APPRAISER: Yes, thank you, thank you.

    GUEST: (sighs) I don't know what to say.

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