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Auction Date: December 8, 2013

Lot 1257: Marston W W & Co - Derringer

Sold for Marston  W  W  & Co   - Derringer
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Extraordinary Documented Marston, Superposed Three Barrel Retractable Knife Blade Derringer Exhibition Quality Engraved and Signed by L. D. Nimschke
Estimated Price: $20,000 - $35,000
Item Views 201 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Marston  W  W  & Co   - Derringer ManufacturerMarston W W & Co ModelDerringer
TypePistol Gauge22 RF Catalog Page123
Barrel3 Inch FinishSilver-plated GripWalnut
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is a nice example of a rare and unique exhibition quality engraved Marston superposed three-barrel derringer with retractable knife blade. This pistol was engraved and signed by Master Engraver Louis Daniel Nimschke. William Marston of New York City manufactured only an estimated 400 three barrel deringer pistols with retractable knife blades between 1858 and 1864. The pistols had a silver plated brass frame, blue superposed barrels and two-piece walnut grips. Some of the deringers, such as this example, were elaborately engraved. The pistol has a three-inch spear-point blade on the left side of the barrel that locks in place with a spring clip. A round firing indicator is located on the right side of the frame. The pistol has a casehardened hammer with knurled spur. The left side of the frame is engraved "Wm W. MARSTON/PATENTED/MAY 20. 1857/NEW YORK CITY". The serial number, "1063" is stamped on the left side of the butt underneath the grip and on the left side of the barrel under the knife blade. The diminutive pistol is elaborately engraved and signed "N" by Louis Nimschke on the inside of the grip strap. The pistol has Nimschke's American style scroll engraving on the frame, barrel latch, butt, back strap and grip strap and on the barrel top at the breech and muzzle. The frame engraving has a stippled background and the barrel and barrel latch have a punch-dot background. The top of the barrel latch is decorated with a United States shield motif. The left side of the frame features a winged fire breathing mythical creature. The right side of the frame is decorated with a tiger. The barrel muzzles have wavy lined borders. A panel with wavy lines and dots surrounds the brass front sight. Wavy line and dot borders also surround the frame engraving. The screw heads are decorated with floral designs. L.D. Nimschke was a prolific engraver who executed Master engraving on over 100 different makes of firearms. However, only about 35% of the arms in Nimschke's record book have some form of his signature, usually "N", "LN" or "LDN". The consignor states that this pistol was not only engraved and signed by Nimschke but was his personal firearm, (this was stated by the family at the time of sale) when it was sold at public auction by his present day heirs. This derringer is pictured in "The Deringer in America" Volume II, by Wilson & Eberhart on page 107. It is pictured with 2 other guns which were also owned by Nimschke and were sold by the family at the same public auction.

ConditionFine. The barrel assembly has a smooth silver-gray patina. The barrel and barrel latch engraving are crisp. The brass frame has an attractive mellow unpolished aged patina. The engraved surfaces have some handling wear, but the engraving is deep and clear. The grips are very good with traces of the original varnish finish, slight rounding on the toes and some minor handling marks. This is a rare example of a Marston Three-Barrel Knife-Blade Derringer engraved and signed by one of the finest 19th Century American firearms engravers.
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