Approximately .49 caliber. 4" round barrel flat along the top. SN: 13. About 7.5" in overall length. Back action percussion ignition. Rounded trigger guard. 7 groove rifling. German silver finishes. Markings on both breech of barrel and the scrolled engraved lockplate: "DERINGER/PHILADELa" Left side of the breech marked with a "P" encircled by a sunburst motif. Wedge escutcheons on forend, shield shaped escutcheon on the back handle. Walnut stock with cap box in butt. Fitted with ramrod. Most Deringers are around .41 caliber but this one is slightly larger. Classic Deringer pocket pistol design. Engraving is from circa 1848-1850. The finial is rather sparsely engraved.
According to Henry Deringer, he in 1866, estimated that he made 1,280 pairs of pistols between 1861-1866. It can be therefore estimated that no more than 15,000 were made. The general era of Henry Deringer pistols is about 1852-1868. His earliest designs of the 1830s and 1840s tended to be considerably larger.
A good description of Deringer pistols is from the trademark related court case in which Deringer won, Plate v. Deringer in 1868, "It is a single barrel pistol with a back action percussion lock, patent breech, wide bore and a walnut stock. It varies in length of barrel from 1-1/2" to 6" for the ordinary pistol and from 6" to 9" for the dueling pistol. It is commonly mounted with German silver. The barrels used are all rifled. The locks vary in size and proportion to the length of the barrels. On the lockplates and breech of such pistols the words DERINGER-PHILADELa are stamped. The stamps being the same which has been used from the first manufacture of these pistols, and by which, they are known everywhere."
The Deringer pistols were so popular that the name was appropriated as derringer to colloquially mean pocket pistol. Some copycat companies even went to the trouble of hiring people with the name in order to use it. Additionally, several major manufacturers also utilized the name derringer to describe their pocket pistol. However, they did not look the same in appearance to the Henry Deringer pistols and ranged from single shot to repeaters.
Good. Wear down the barrel but rifling is still pretty deep. The German silver is dulled but still in good condition. Minimal dings and marks on the barrel.
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