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Hi all,

New to the forum and am trying to identify the value, if any, of a small Derringer like pistol I picked up at an estate auction. Does not have the piece that holds the cylinder to the pistol. Not sure if that is the firing pin or not. I attached some pics. Would love to hear what it is and if it has any value. The only markings on it are "Governor" on the top and 642 under the barrel.

Feel free to PM me or email me at [email protected].

Thanks,
Ck




 

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In the middle 1850's, Daniel Wesson and Horace Smith invented the 22 rimfire cartridge and designed a little 7-shot revolver to shoot it. It was roughly the size of yours, but a with a hinge in the frame to make loading and unloading easier. They did some patent research and came up with a patent issued to a man named Rollin White that gave them a hammerlock on making rimfire and centerfire revolvers for the next 15 years or so. (Their deal with White paid him a nice royalty per gun, but required him to bear the cost of defending the patent against infringements. He spent pretty much all the royalties that way.)

By the time the White patent expired, there was a huge pent-up demand for cheap revolvers, and the result was an explosion of small-pistol manufacturing that lasted well over a decade. There were innumerable makers with an endless array of names and styles.

Your gun was part of this outpouring. By the 1890's, guns of this type were selling for about $1 by mail-order. Some advertisements promoted them as being safer than cap-pistols as Fourth of July noisemakers! A derogatory name for this class of gun was "Suicide Special", either because it was suicide to rely on one, or because suicide was all they were good for. I think there was a book about them by that title back in the 1960's, but the term has gone out of use today.

I can't tell you anything specific about your gun. Values are usually low, because they are not heavily collected. They are pretty much all antiques under the law, so the laws pertaining to the purchase and sale of modern firearms do not apply.
 

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Welcome to TFF.

The GOVERNOR spur-trigger pocket pistols were made by Bacon Arms Co. of Norwich, CT ca. 1870s-early 1880s

Flayderman's Guide lists value in Very Good condition of only $125, and one in condition of yours would be much less, so hope you didn't pay a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Welcome to TFF.

The GOVERNOR spur-trigger pocket pistols were made by Bacon Arms Co. of Norwich, CT ca. 1870s-early 1880s

Flayderman's Guide lists value in Very Good condition of only $125, and one in condition of yours would be much less, so hope you didn't pay a lot.
I paid a whopping $14. I thought it looked cool and thought it would make a nice wall display. Sounds like getting parts would be a waste of time. I need the piece that holds the cylinder in place.

Thanks for the feedback,
Ck
 

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I paid a whopping $14. I thought it looked cool and thought it would make a nice wall display. Sounds like getting parts would be a waste of time. I need the piece that holds the cylinder in place.

Thanks for the feedback,
Ck
For wall display, you can probably find a bolt or rod of right diameter to use as a makeshift cylinder pin.
 

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Dixiegunworks had parts for the Eli Whitney version of these guns--they might be able to match something up for you. I had one that I used to shoot BB caps. Aimed at a wooden picnic table leg and the damn bullet bounced back and hit me in the leg--no harm done, just stung a bit.
 
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