The Sharps four-barrel pepperbox was manufactured in several models and in the tens of thousands from 1859 to 1874. The cleverly designed pistol fired rimfire cartridges loaded by sliding the four-barrel assembly forward. A firing pin on the hammer rotates each time the hammer is cocked to discharge each barrel in turn. Small and pocket-sized, the pistol was easily concealed and natural for self-defense. Some Civil War soldiers carried them into camp and created trouble when drunk or careless, but they are better known as a favorite of travelers, gamblers and denizens of the west. One was supposedly found on Wild Bill Hickok after his death.
The “C. Sharps & Co. / Philada. Pa.” circular stamp on the right frame. “C. Sharps / Patent 1859” circular mark on the left. The brown gutta-percha grips are excellent. The swirling, floral motifs are distinct and raised, not worn down from handling, and free of chips or cracks. This is a nice early Civil War example of the .22 caliber Sharps 1A, serial #12,799. Dating this example to 1862.
Inventory Number: HAN 139