February 18, 2022
About 45 years ago, I purchased a Hopkins Allen revolver that was made by the Merwin Hubert & Co. I believe it was made in the late 1870s or early 1880s. It’s .38 caliber with a five-shot cylinder. It has a 2 1/2-inch-long hex barrel. The frame is engraved “Forehand D.A.” and the gun is nickel plated. The grips have an army insignia along with “F&W” on them. There is no loading gate and the serial number is 57XX. The revolver was sold as “never being fired,” which I tend to believe because of the condition of the gun. Your thought as to the value would be appreciated. Thank you.
-G.E. of Frederic, Virginia
Actually, you have a Forehand & Wadsworth five-shot pocket revolver. Forehand & Wadsworth was a manufacturer of a large number of single-shot and revolving cartridge arms beginning in 1871 following the death of Sullivan Forehand’s and Henry Wadsworth’s father-in-law, gunmaker Ethan Allen. (Each married one of Allen’s daughters). When Wadsworth retired in 1890, the company was renamed Forehand Arms Co. It ceased to exist in 1902, about four years following Forehand’s death, having been taken over by Hopkins & Allen, which continued in business until 1915. The guns made by H&A were pretty much the same ones offered at the time by F&W. The firm(s) made a dizzying variety of arms. Based on the markings and style of your little .38 solid-frame F&W double-action, I would place its date of manufacture near 1890. While interesting, these are not particularly hot collector’s pieces. Yours has the advantage of an excellent condition. I’d value it at between $170 and $200.
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