The Philadelphia Deringer was designed by Henry Deringer and produced from 1852 through 1868. A popular concealed carry handgun of the era, this pocket pistol design was widely copied by competitors, sometimes down to the markings. Initially popular with military officers, the Deringer became widely popular among civilians who wished to own a small and easily concealable pistol for self-defense. The name "Deringer" became so synonymous with small concealable pistols that vest-pocket pistols, sleeve guns, and boot pistols have all been collectively referred simply as "Deringers" at various points throughout history.
In total, only 15,000 pistols were manufactured by Deringer. The guns came in a variety of barrel lengths and sizes, but all were single-barrel pistols with back action percussion locks, and featured walnut stocks. Furniture was generally made from "German silver".
Because of their small size and easy availability, Deringers sometimes had the dubious reputation of being a favored tool of assassins. The most famous Deringer used for this purpose was fired by John Wilkes Booth who assassinated Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.
This particular Deringer is virtually identical to the famous pistol used by Booth at Ford's Theater. It features a 2.5" barrel with a .42 caliber bore. All original from top to bottom, this gun remains in excellent condition.
The walnut stock features crisp checkering and a nicely varnished finish - both indicators that the stock has never been sanded or refinished. The stock features no real damage other than a minor crack emanating from the front lock bolt (see photos). This crack is stamp and doesn't effect the structural integrity of the stock.
The lock features a good solid action and is clearly marked "DERINGER/PHILADA" - this is a true "Deringer" and not one of the ripoff guns made by Deringer's contemporaries.
The barrel features an overwhelming percentage of its original "lacquered brown" finish. The bore features great rifling some minor surface rust.
Deringers are rare. Deringers in this condition are even more rare - don't wait on this one!