A Hope for Nuclear Peace At the Height of the Cold War: Raab to Offer the Historic Gift of State from the Russians to Americans

Perhaps the most important such historic gift to reach the market; This has never before been offered for sale and was not known to have survived.

A Hope for Nuclear Peace At the Height of the Cold War: Raab to Offer the Historic Gift of State from the Russians to Americans

The Raab Collection announced today that it has discovered, acquired and will offer for sale one of the more important gifts of state in the history of Soviet-US relations at the height of a Cold War, an item meant to symbolize the first great Cold War thaw, an ornate long gun gifted by Premier Nikita Krushchev to the US Secretary of Defense at the time of the visit of the first Soviet leader to the United States.  This has never before been offered for sale.  It is one of the most important such objects to ever reach the market.  The artifact is valued at $225,000.

“This is a remarkable discovery and a compelling and beautiful artifact from a crucial moment in the history of the great 20th century powers,” said Nathan Raab, president of The Raab Collection and author of The Hunt for History (Scribner, 2020).

Historical background:

In September 1959, the Soviet Premier, Nikita S. Khrushchev, visited the United States for about two weeks. This was the first visit by a Soviet head of state to America and was seen as a momentous occasion, absolutely dominating the news at the time. Khrushchev’s fundamental purpose in making the trip was to gain a better understanding of what America was, and to promote mutual understanding between the Soviet Union and the United States on matters of importance to both.

During the trip, the Russians presented the Americans with gifts – tokens of friendship and good will. President Eisenhower and Secretary of Defense McElroy received ornate long guns. The magnificent, decorative guns were shotguns from the foremost manufacturer in the Soviet Union, one presented to the President and one to Secretary of Defense McElroy. The Soviet prime minister argued that it was superior to the best British shotguns that hunters around the world have long appreciated. Krushchev hoped that: “The firearms used in the future by our two countries need be no longer than this shotgun for the preservation of world peace.”

The artifact

When the Russians came to US for this important visit, they brought to the Secretary of Defense one of these long guns designed for him, made in Izhevsk by master engraver Lekomtsev.

The metal and wood, extensively engraved, double barrel hammerless shotgun is in pristine condition. It is a IZH 57 (for Izhevsky and the year of the form).  The gun lists in Russian the maker and engraver: Master Assembler – V. Nesmelov; Stocker – A. Brylov; Engraver – A. Lekomtsev.

Lekomtzev has engraved a five-pointed star in a shield, the mark of Izhevsk Mechanical Plant used in the period. He has decorated the action with images of the hunt, including a gold fox with prey in its teeth, scaring away in the thickets two ducks made in gold. The bird in its teeth is made in silver or white gold.  On the left side of the action, a gold-colored pointing dog in the thickets makes a stand above the bird, and the dawn in the sky is made using the colored gold method, showing the sunrise with a transition from a golden hue below to a more contrasting shade above. The different shades of plumage of the ducks and animals create the impression of a three-dimensional image. The details of the landscapes on both sides of the action are made in silver or white gold.

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