An historic engraved Merwin Hulbert revolver attributed to Wyatt Earp

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Lot 2035ANTIQUE Y
An historic engraved Merwin Hulbert revolver attributed to Wyatt Earp

Sold for US$ 57,500 inc. premium

Antique Arms & Armour

29 Jun 2005, 10:00 PDT

San Francisco

An historic engraved Merwin Hulbert revolver attributed to Wyatt Earp
Serial no. 18122, .44-40 caliber. 7½ in. round barrel with standard markings including Hopkins and Allen address. Solid topstrap. 'CALIBER/WINCHESTER 1873' marked on left side of frame. Punch dot engraving overall with circular panel with a doe on the left side of the frame. Nickel plated. Square butt with one piece ivory grips. Small lanyard ring. Sold together with family documentation attributing the pistol to Earp.
Condition: Around 30 percent nickel finish remaining. Light areas of pitting. Mechanism defective. Barrel release latch replaced. Frame screw replaced. Grips with yellow age patina, cracks, carved notches and chips to toes.

Footnotes

  • This lot is accompanied by a original letter signed by Douglas Gray on Cochise Hall, Tucson, AZ stationary, addressed to Master Albert Sames, and dated December 23, 1923. In the letter, Mr. Gray describes how he was bequeathed the revolver by Lawrence Hart, a Virginia City assayer and gambler. He states that Mr. Hart and he were associated together in the assay business on Fremont Street, Tombstone. Mr. Hart had acquired this revolver directly from his 'bosom' friend Wyatt Earp. Master Sames father acquired the pistol from Mr. Gray some months before this letter was written.

    The Tombstone Epitaph reported on January 17, 1929:

    Wyatt Earp's favorite six-shooter, a gun he carried during his Dodge City, Kansas days and one he used while Deputy U.S. Marshal here, is now owned by Albert A. Sames, son of Judge Albert M. Sames, now attending school at the University of Wisconsin. The famous gun was formerly owned by Douglas Gray of this place and was owned by only one other person since leaving the hands of Wyatt Earp. It is a finely made gun with a beautiful pearl handle and must have been one of the best obtainable at that time.

    Judge Albert M. Sames, was distinguished jurist. He served as a Superior Court Judge of Cochise County from 1921-1931. In 1931 he was appointed to the Federal Bench by Herbert Hoover. He died in Los Angeles in 1958.

    The lot is also accompanied by an article by Lee Silva documenting his research on the relationship between Gray and Hart. The 1910 US Census records Lawrence Hart on Fremont Street and records his occupation as an assayer.

    Sold together with a photo of noted Earp author John Gilchriese and a Sames descendant holding the letter and revolver when the gun was part of an exhibition of Tombstone history.
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Y CITES

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ANTIQUE Antique - pre 1899

Handguns that fall outside the Section 5 authority will be labelled ANTIQUE.