Here is a fantastic little early .38 Caliber Merwin Hulbert pocket revolver made in the 1870's that's still in the box. It has a 3 1/2" barrel, 5 shot cylinder w/early style scooped flutes, nickel finish, and checkered hard rubber grips. This is the earliest type with the dog's head on the grips but also very early production that was made without a loading gate. Instead, it just has a round hole in the right side of the recoil plate. In all the years of finding Merwins, this is only the 2nd one we've found with this feature and the only Merwin we've ever had still in its original factory box. It also has the desirable Merwin Hulbert AND Hopkins and Allen manufacturer's markings on the side of the frame and top of the barrel. Merwin Hulbert didn't actually make guns...they had their gun designs manufactured for them by the well known firm of Hopkins and Allen. Hence, the dual markings. Over the years, we've heard more than one collector express that the MH revolvers were probably the best thing H&A ever manufactured as the MH designs and quality generally out-matched H&A's own line of guns.
This particular example is in Excellent overall condition with 97% strong original nickel with only minor age freckles. Hammer has nice knurlings and most of its original case colors still visible. Perfect markings throughout with left side of frame marked "MWRWIN HULBER & CO. (over) NEW YORK U.S.A.". The left side of the frame is marked "38 CAL". The top of the barrel reads "HOPKINS & ALLEN MFG CO NORWICH CONN USA PAT JAN 24 (over) APR 21 DEC 15 74 AUG 3 75 JULY 11 76 APR 17 77 PAT'S MAR 6 77. Excellent mechanics. Good bore with strong rifling with a few scattered pits. Nice working action with perfect tightness of barrel to frame lockup. Hard rubber checkered grips are perfect with sharp checkering and nice bust of a dog's head at the top of each grip. No chips, cracks, or repairs. This gun shows remarkably little usage and was probably only fired a few times and put away....I just wished they had done a better job cleaning the bore out a little more.
The box has a illustrated picture of the gun with directions for usage written in both English and Spanish. Yes, that's right! Spanish!!!! Merwin Hulbert & Co. really worked hard to market these guns in Mexico during the 1870's and 80's and many have been found and returned from South of the border over the years...oftentimes in incredibly worn condition. To find one of these 1870's era guns still in the box is a rare opportunity to get a glimpse into where and how MH & Co. was marketing their guns. Note the title inside the lid reads "NEW 38 REVOLVER - AUTOMATIC EJECTOR" OR "(LANZADOR AUTOMATIC)....to catch the 19th century customer's attention as the illustration shows the gun being unloaded. The cartriges were supposed to tumble out of the cylinder as the barrel was twisted and slid forward...allowing the user to easily reload. A very unique design. The box overall is in good condition with a few minor tears on the corners of the lid, some wear on the edges, and some staining on the bottom. The box is solid and is in remarkable shape for something made out of cardboard in the 1870's. Nice label inside and the box's original partition is in there too....albeit loose...at least its there and can easily be re-attached.
This is another great opportunity for a good investment. These "sans loading gate" guns are one of the rarest and most desirable variations of the MH & Co. pocket revolver. To find one still in the original box after almost 130 years is a chance of a lifetime for most Merwin Collectors.