Engraved Percussion Derringer By African-American Gunsmith J.M.Jones

.38 caliber, 3" wedge retained, tapered octagonal barrel with gold bands at breech, no S/N. 6.5" in overall length. Browned barrel, case hardened breech, lock and hammer, German silver mounts, platinum blow out in bolster, checkered walnut stock. Backs action lock engraved with delicate, tight foliate scrolls, breech and triggerguard engraved en suite. Top of barrel marked J.M. JONES. Gold shield-shaped wrist escutcheon, gold front sight blade. Although the quality of the fit, finish and engraving suggest the work of a top London gun maker of the mid-19th century, the gun was in fact made in North America.

James Monroe Jones was one of the very few African-American gunsmiths working in 19th America. Born as a slave in North Carolina, Jones' father eventually purchased freedom for himself and his family and moved them to the free state of Ohio. Jones eventually graduated from Oberlin University in Ohio, and worked as a gunmaker in London, OH and later in Chatam, Ontario (Canada). He was renowned as the only African-American gunmaker in Canada during the period and even produced a pair of extraordinary gilt derringer pistols for the Prince of Wales (later King Edward the VII). This is a really stunning small sized derringer type pistol in wonderful condition, a real gem, produced by one of finest gunsmiths of the era, who had started his life as a slave.


Very fine. Retains most of the striped brown finish, all markings and engraving remain crisp. Lock with traces of case color, hammer with more. Some minor scattered surface oxidation is present on the barrel. Mechanically functional, good bore with strong rifling and some scattered areas of light to moderate pitting. Stock with light handling marks, retaining much of the varnish.

Estimate: $5,000 - $8,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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