The Sharps four-barrel pepperbox was manufactured in several models, and nearly 30,000 of these unique pocket pistols were produced between 1859 and 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 so as 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- a handy backup piece at a poker table. It would display well in a grouping of Old West material.
This particular specimen is in excellent condition and comes complete in its original fitted mahogany case. Mechanically perfect, the barrels lock up tightly when closed, and slide forward when the bottom screw release is depressed. The hammer mounted, rotating firing pin advances correctly to each of the four barrel when the hammer is cocked. The action of the hammer is reliable; locking reliably when cocked.
The original rosewood grips are excellent with no chips, cracks or other damage. The brass frame features a good maker's stamp and roughly 85% of its original silver-plated finish.
The .22 caliber barrels are very good with a nice grey patina and some traces their original vibrant factory bluing remaining in protected areas. The original brass bead front sight is intact and in good condition.
The bores show some light pitting, but are otherwise in good condition.
As mentioned above, this rare pistol comes in an even rarer fitted mahogany case. The case is in excellent condition, retaining a majority of its original shellac varnish and only a few scratches and scuffs from storage. The inside of the case is fitted with a handsome green liner which is in excellent condition and include storage compartments for ammunition or cleaning accessories.
Overall, this is a fine example of a rare pocket pistol with its original wooden case.