This is part of a group of five Bills of Sale from the Lowensteine Strouse & Co. Hardware Store in Mora, New Mexico. The town is located about 30 miles from Las Vegas, New Mexico and Los Alamos at the base of the Rocky Mountains and not far from the Sante Fe Trail. They just don't get much better than this! There are orders for Colts, Winchesters, Remingtons, cartridges, gun leather, bridles, whips, and even wash tubs. All are dated the 1880's to 1890's from various Hardware distributors including Hall & Wallis of Kansas City, MO as well as Simmons Hardware Company, E.C Meacham Arms, and Dagnan-Maginnis Saddlery Co all of St. Louis. These Bills give great insight into where guns were actually being shipped into the American West as they pick up where most factory records fall short. Over the years, we have looked high and low for old hardware store bills like these and never come across many that pertained to Weapons and even fewer that were from Hardware stores in the Old West. All five of these came from an old Colt Collector who bought them many years ago from another old Collector. These are rarely found and almost never come up for sale.
This particular bill is from Simmons Hardware of Saint Louis dated April 11, 1890 for $96.86. Probably the most interesting item is for a Colt 1873 Single Action Army revolver in .45 Colt. The notation reads "1 =Blued Colt Rub H. (for hard rubber grips) Revolver 45/ S.A. 4 3/4 in Brl $10.80. This Bill provides a missing link to where Colt Factory records leave off as a great many Colts were shipped to Simmons Hardware Store distributor Saint Louis. Simmons was sort of like a 19th century version of Davidson's Firearms...who supply dealers all over the United States with their firearms. Sadly, just where Simmons shipped their guns has remained a mystery as records have probably long since been destroyed. Its old bills and receipts like this that give us a glimpse of what most of us can only imagine or wonder about. In addition to the Colt, there are orders for a "Premier Revolver", a Flobert Rifle, a walnut shotgun stock, 12 gauge shotgun with 34" barrel, shot belts, trout flies, duck decoys?, powder pouches, wash tubs, water buckets, door locks and knobs, pie plates and tea. Fascinating insight to what a New Mexico hardware store was ordering for its stock and customers back in 1890.