This is an exceptional example of an early Sharps Pepperbox Deringer Pistol. It's in .22 caliber and is categorized in Flayderman's Guide as a Model 1A. Features include a silver plated brass frame, 2.5" blued barrel, and fancy gutta percha grips. Left side of frame is stamped in a circle motif: C. SHARPS PATENT 1859. Right side of frame is marked in a similar fashion: C. SHARPS & Co PHILADELPHIA PA. Serial number is in the 15,000 range which is about one quarter of the way into production and was most likely produced during the Civil War. The Sharps was offered in several calibers ranging from .22 to .32 rimfire and manufactured from 1859 until 1874. Mechanically, this little gun had a clever design which featured a rotating firing pin which traveled ninety degrees per barrel each time the hammer was cocked.
Overall Condition grades to NRA Antique Fine+ Condition with 97% original silver plating intact on the frame with some light scratching along with 30% original blue remaining on the barrels. Rear portion of the hammer shows some excellent fire blue behind the spur and on the cam spring (See photo). Grips are in Excellent condition with no chips, cracks, or repairs. Mechanics are in good working order with the firing pin still indexing properly to each of the four barrels. What's shocking about this gun are the bores. In an era of black powder cartridges with corrosive priming, bores are usually found with some degree of pitting. All four of the barrels on this gun have survived in Excellent condition...still bright and shiny with very little to no signs of any corrosion. This gun was shot very little as you can still see the factory machine lines in the grooves of the rifling. Serial numbers match on the frame and barrels. Most of these little Sharps are found in condition ranges well below this example especially in terms of original silver plating that's still intact. This one still retains most of its silver with some staining and light scratches here and there. Given the light wear and little scratches, my feeling is that this pistol belonged to a lady who carried this pistol for protection in her purse. She probably fired it on rare occasions, if any, which accounts for the outstanding condition of the bores and the mechanics. Nice little Sharps!