Philadelphia Derringer - Inventory Number: HAN 221 / SOLD
Deringer Percussion Pistol, made circa the 1850s. This single shot pistol that fires a .44 caliber ball and was intended for self-defense. Just like the original by Henry Deringer, this one features engraving on the lock and German silver hardware. It is marked “DERINGER” on the lockplate and “Phila” on top of the barrel. There is an oval shaped initial placard on the top of the wrist with letter “W”. All metal is German silver or silver washed. A quality piece!
This little self-defense pistol would have been most at home in the pocket of anyone in the busy cities of New York, Philadelphia, or Chicago during the tumultuous times of the mid-1800s. These type pistols are small, light and simple. The “Pocket Pistol” name says it all. They were the "Saturday Night Specials" of the 16th-19th century. Before the Deringer, they were "Gentleman's" or "Muff Pistols", typically, a smaller pistol that was easily concealed. They were favored among the gentry and women because of these traits. Men would carry them concealed in a waistcoat pocket and women would hide them in a hand muff.
The name “Deringer” often invokes certain historical event, characters or moments in film. Deringer’s name has become both a noun and a catch-all term. President Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed with one of Henry Deringer’s pocket sized percussion pistols, the night John Wilkes Booth revenged the South at the Ford Theater. They conjure images of the California Gold Rush, as well as riverboat gamblers. These pistols were very practical for the time, being small and concealable and a fairly large bore size.
The overall condition is very good. Original finish/patina. The action is excellent. The bore is in very good condition with strong rifling. The stock shows some minor wear from carry.