Learn more about Derringer Pistols for Sale

Our auctions feature historic items every collector desires, and making regular appearances are the popular derringer pistols for sale.

Vintage White Engraved and Inscribed Derringer

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History of the “Derringer Pistol”

Henry Deringer, a gunsmith from Pennsylvania and the derringer pistol namesake, did not come to his profession by accident. His father, Henry Deringer Sr., worked as a gunsmith and served as his son's mentor and inspiration for becoming a firearms inventor.

Prior to his pocket pistol creation, Deringer manufactured rifles and battled for government contracts. In the 1820s, he strayed away from the long gun market and began working in pistol design. The invention of the percussion cap allowed him to finalize his design in 1852 and gave us the gun we know today: a small, muzzle loading, single shot percussion pistol. It was first used among military officers, but soon after its inception gained traction in the civilian market. It was a small yet effective weapon, and appealed to customers looking for concealable firepower.

The original Philadelphia Deringer was a huge success, and due to its overwhelming popularity, many other manufacturers stole the design and marketed them under different names, such as “derringer” to avoid copyright issues. The misspelling stuck and many pocket pistol designs are now generically referred to as “derringers.”

The most well-known Deringer pistol was used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. It is currently housed at the Ford’s Theater National Historic Site. Another historic example is a pristinely conditioned, early production set of Deringer pistols, once owned by Brigadier General Thomas Jefferson Brady. Bearing gold bands and silver furniture, the pistols brought $74,750 in a 2012 sale by Rock Island Auction Company.

Engraved and Inscribed Philadelphia Deringer Pistols

A superb pair of gold banded, silver furnished, engraved and inscribed Philadelphia Deringer Percussion Pocket Pistols owned by Brigadier General Thomas Jefferson Brady. The pair sold for $74,750 in April of 2012.

Over the years, derringer pistols have remained sought after pieces for gun collectors. If you are looking for a derringer pistol for sale, we have a rotating selection available in our many auctions throughout the year.

Why Buy a Derringer for Sale?

While older Deringer pistols and their imitators are typically bought for their historic value and collectability, the modern derringer pistol offers astounding concealability, albeit at the expense of cartridge capacity. Despite its age, the pocket pistol’s overall design is relatively the same, though today’s derringers utilize modern improvements such as cartridge ammunition and stronger metals that result in even smaller guns. Whether a single or double shot pistol, at short distances the little gun can deliver a devastating blow.

If you want to find a classic derringer pistol for sale, look no further than Rock Island Auction Company. We have a wide variety of makes, models, and eras of pocket pistols.

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Vintage Engraved Derringer

Use RIAC to Find Your Next Collector Firearm

Rock Island Auction Company has remained the leader in antique firearm and gun auctions. Our experts conduct detailed visual inspections for each and every firearm we auction. We provide our customers with the opportunity to find guns that fit their collection. Rest assured knowing your new collector firearm will be exactly what you expect.

To find a Derringer pistol for sale that fits your needs, check out our catalog.

Browse our inventory of antique guns online or contact us for additional information.