Antique Merwin Hulbert firearms
Antique Merwin Hulbert firearms are guns produced by American firearms designer Merwin Hulbert between 1876 and 1916.
Joseph Merwin, after experience marketing revolvers, formed a company with William and Milan Hulbert in 1876. The guns were manufactured by Hopkins & Allen of Norwich, Connecticut, a company in which the Hulberts had a 50% share.Background & history of production
After Merwin’s death in 1888, Hopkins & Allen continued to manufacture Merwin Hulbert marked guns until 1916, when the company went bankrupt.
Merwin Hulbert manufactured single action and double action revolvers with a rotating barrel design. They made several models, such as large frame revolvers (models 1-4), frontier models (large frame square butt), pocket army models (with birds head grip), and the rare seven shot .22 short rimfire caliber Derringer.
The designs had a great influence on other gun makers. They were one of the top four quality revolver manufacturers from 1876-1891, on a par with Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Remington.
Their revolvers were frequently used by eastern U.S. police departments.
Merwin Hulbet pistols were never manufactured in such large numbers as their contemporaries from Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Remington, and they are lesser known, however, they were of similarly great quality and are therefore rare and valuable.
As with all firearms, the value increases hugely if once owned by a significant historical figure, in this case, such as notable individuals of the Old West.
Price guide and notable auction sales
Merwin Hulbert firearms usually sell for a few hundred – a few thousand. However, if once owned by a significant individual, their worth can soar.
- Scarce blued Merwin Hulbert first model army revolver, sold for $4,312.50 by Heritage Auctions in September 2011.
- Factory engraved Merwin Hulbert revolver, pocket army model, sold for $4,750 by Rock Island Auction Company in May 2010.
- Factory engraved Merwin Hulbert revolver, third model, sold for $6,325 by Heritage Auctions in September 2011.
- Factory engraved Merwin Hulbert revolver, third model, circa 1876-1880, sold for $7,500 by Rock Island Auction Company in April 2012.
- Scarce Merwin Hulbert fourth model revolver, 1880s, sold for $7,500 by Rock Island Auction Company in April 2012
- Engraved Merwin Hulbert revolver once owned by ‘toughest and deadliest gunman’, frontier officer Wyatt Earp, sold for $57,500 at Bonhams in June 2005.