This fine and unique antique is one of only about 250 ever manufactured and has a 7.5” barrel. I do not recall ever having seen but one other example for sale in the past 4 decades. It is serial number 33 making it within the very first year of production of the pattern.
The firm of Allen & Wheelock was a true powerhouse of American arms manufacturing during the middle of the 19th century. Unlike the major American arms producers of the era like Colt and Remington, Allen & Wheelock concentrated upon manufacturing arms for civilian sale rather than focusing on trying to obtain government military contracts, although some products were designed with that goal in mind.
The Allen & Wheelock Center Hammer Lip Fire “Army” revolver was the large bore, .44 caliber revolver in the series. Like all of the Allen “Center Hammer” revolvers, it used a single-action mechanism but fired Allen’s proprietary, self-contained .44 Lip Fire cartridge. It is estimated that only about 250 of these revolvers were actually produced from about mid-1860 until November of 1863 when a court order ended production of all Allen revolvers with bored through cylinders.
As a result of the incredibly small production numbers, this scarce revolver is often missing from even the most advanced collections of Civil War era secondary martial revolvers.