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1867 FRANKFORD ARSENAL 40 ROUND 50/70 AMMUNITION PACKET – A VERY SCARCE EARLY INDIAN WAR AMMUNITION DISPLAY ITEM – AN EXCEPTIONAL OPPORTUNITY TO ENHANCE AN EARLY FRONTIER COLLECTION::  Issued for use in the US Army .50 caliber rifles and carbines alike during the late 1860’s, these original 40 Round “CENTRE PRIMED METALLIC CARTRIDGES CALIBRE .50” packets were produced at the Frankford Arsenal in 1867.  Apparently manufactured for only that one year as no other dates have been noted on these early labels, it is not surprising that these forty round packets of 50/70 ammunition have survived in very limited numbers.

The large 40 round packet consists of a paper wrapper printed with the labeling information, wrapped and sealed around eight individual paper board five round packets.  Each of the eight five round packets are also labeled with the Frankford Arsenal information and the same date (see photograph below).  The five round packets contained the Bar Anvil primed .50/70 cartridges which preceded the Benet and Martin primed cartridges.  Due to malfunctions, the Bar Anvil primed cartridges were only in service for a short period of time, and individual specimens are in their own right, quite scarce today. 

Although the reason for this manner of packaging has not been absolutely determined, when considered in light of the cartridge boxes in use at the time, when removed from the full 40 round packet wrapper, all eight of the individual 5 round packets could be carried in the Civil War Infantry Cartridge box with tin liners which were still in use on the Indian War frontier at this time - two of these packets will fit in the lower section and two in the upper section of each of the two tin liners in the cartridge box.  Thus carried, one soldier could store his full issue of forty rounds and only unwrap those number of cartridges needed for immediate use, keeping the rest of the cartridges protected in the smaller paper board wrappers.

These packets are considered to be the rarest, most desirable, and most historically significant Frankford Arsenal loadings of the .50 caliber cartridges of early Indian War era.  Never common, it is believed that a partial crate containing 25 of these 40 round packets was found years ago, and that those 25 packets may represent the total number in existence today.  At least two of those 40 round packets are known to have been opened and the 5 round packets distributed in collections around the country, further reducing the number of complete 40 round examples remaining, hence the rarity and the commensurate value on the market today. 

These 40 round packets are listed below with separate descriptions and accompanying photographs. 


NO. 1   1867 FRANKFORD ARSENAL 40 ROUND 50/70 AMMUNITION PACKET - SEALED AND COMPLETE WITH ALL EIGHT 5 ROUND PACKETS:   In excellent condition, this rare packet is still sealed and is complete with the original 40 rounds of internally primed copper cartridges.  The packet wrapper is intact and the red cotton pull tape is present, and still attached under the seam of the paper wrapper.  The paper label is full form and is completely legible. 

If this packet were opened and the outer wrapper and the eight five round packets were sold in individual offerings, the retail value would be over $6500.  Offered here intact, this is a rare opportunity to obtain a special addition for your collection.  (0220)  $5500

NOTE:  The 5 Round packet is not included in this offering, however it is available for purchase under a separate listing on this web site (CLICK HERE).  


NO. 2   1867 FRANKFORD ARSENAL 40 ROUND 50/70 AMMUNITION PACKET WRAPPER:  To be perfectly clear, this offering is for the original pasteboard external box and wrapper only for a Frankford Arsenal .50/70 Cartridge 40 round Packet as shown in the photographs below. 

Originally wrapped and sealed around the eight individual, five round packets, this 40 round box is constructed of six individual pieces of pasteboard, held together by a paper wrapper which bears the printed label.  The wrapper is complete and full form, with the original pull tape intact and present.  The wrapper was carefully opened to remove the eight individual 5 round packets it held, without destroying the shape or dimensional quality of the external wrapper and box.  The paper label is full form and is completely legible.  The box is supported by a Styrofoam block and protected with a heavy plastic sleeve for an attractive display. 

This external wrapper and complete label represents an exceptional opportunity for a collector to add a respectable and representative example of this rare packet to his early Indian War collection without having to make the substantial investment represented in a full packet.  These external wrappers are seldom seen on the market, and in fact this is only the second one I have seen or heard of being offered in over twenty years.  Adding this packet wrapper will certainly set your collection a cut above others and this is an offering you are not likely to see again in the near future.  (0404) $850


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