This incredible 19th century American pistol was shown in the May 2013 American Society of Arms Collectors newsletter as part of "'Fine and Rare American Pistols' from the William E. Gerber Collection" on page 7 and notes as one of only 2,200 Marston three barrel pistols manufactured. Norm Flayderman identified only around 1,500 of these pistols manufactured c. 1858-1865. Of those, around 800 in the 1-800 serial number range had the sliding knife blade, and those were further divided into earlier pistols like this one with a clip point "Bowie" knife and later pistols with spear point blades. As small pocket pistols, relatively few of these pistols retain any significant finish today unlike this very fine pistol. Engraved examples with the clip point "Bowie" knife are especially desirable. The clip point knife is 3 inches long and slides along the left side of the barrel group. The barrels also have a German silver post front sight. The frame has a rotating selector on the right side that advances automatically each time the hammer is cocked and has 0-3 markings advancing vertically. The frame also has scroll and star engraving and is marked "WM. W. MARSTON/PATENTED/MAY 26, 1857/NEW YORK CITY on the left side. The matching serial number is stamped on the left side of the barrel group and on the grip frame under the left grip. The rotating barrel latch has an integral notch rear sight. The walnut grips have a glossy varnish.
Very fine with nearly 95% original silver plating remaining on the frame and display natural aged patina and minor handling and storage wear as well as crisp markings and engraving, 50% plus original blue finish on the barrel group, smooth gray and brown patina on the balance, mottled gray patina on the blade, and minor overall wear. The grips are fine and retain most of the glossy varnish and have minor lower edge wear and handling and storage marks. Mechanically fine. Definitely one of the finest Marston Three Barrel Derringers extant!
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