April 07, 2022
Question: My father-in-law worked for a not-to-be-named three-letter federal agency during which he and his family were posted to some interesting places in South and Southeast Asia. Coincidentally, major armed conflicts were typically brewing during or shortly after the postings. He always had good relations with at least some of the powers-that-be, which may be how this pistol was obtained. The pistol shown in the pictures was allegedly obtained from Afghanistan in the 1956 to ’58 time frame. It is stamped “EIG”, which according to information online stands for East India Government, and “1867 Birmingham”. The markings on the barrel seem to be “86”; a crown; “Tr” or T capital gamma; an arrow; “B5”; and “B12”. It has a captive ramrod, is smoothbore and functional. Any information you could provide on it, and its approximate value, would be appreciated.
-R.R. of Tennessee
Answer: Your father-in-law came up with a variant of the British Pattern 1858 Cavalry Pistol made for the East India Government. From 1757 to 1858, India was primarily governed by the East India Company, a vast commercial enterprise with its own army and navy. Following the Sepoy Rebellion in 1857 to ’ 58, it was deemed prudent for India to be controlled by the British Crown. Known as the “Raj” (Sanskrit for “rule”), this situation lasted until 1947 when India achieved independence. After the uprising, it was decided that native troops would not be armed with weapons as current as those used by Crown forces, hence the late date on your pistol. By 1867, revolvers were pretty much standard issue with British regulars. The crown and broad-arrow barrel proof denotes British military ownership. “TR” is probably the initials of a contractor or subcontractor. Earlier EIC pistols and British Crown arms generally bring a bit more than do EIG guns. I’d price yours in the $750 to $900 range.
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