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Old September 13, 2002, 12:34 PM   #1
PKAY
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Pistol Identity?

A friend has a display in his home with a lot of nick nacks he has picked up on his travels around the country and the world. One item in the display caught my attention. It is a percussion cap pistol of Derringer size (maybe a little larger) with what appears to be a birds head grip. The material it is made of appears to be brass. The barrel is not rifled. It is smooth bore with a thickened diameter at the muzzle (similar to old cannon configurations). There is a proof mark composed of an oval with what looks like a crown and the letter "G" with another letter I can't make out.

Any idea of this pistol's origin, make, value? See attached jpeg. Another one to follow.

Thanks
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Old September 13, 2002, 12:36 PM   #2
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Here's another view.
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Old September 13, 2002, 08:20 PM   #3
James K
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If the proofmark is an oval under a crown, with the letter "E" over "L G" and a star in the oval, the pistol was made in Belgium, like tons of similar pistols. I have no way of knowing the maker, but maybe someone will.

Jim
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Old September 14, 2002, 11:38 AM   #4
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Thanks, Jim. The proof mark you describe is it. I take it this pistol is not rare or valuable from your point of view. Is that a correct assessment?
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Old September 14, 2002, 05:06 PM   #5
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Liege Belgum Proof

There's a near twin in an antique store around here, a Belgique copy of an English "Cannon Barrel" pocket pistol. There were thousands of these things made and sold worldwide in the 19th Century. An attractive wallhanger, but I wouldn't use it as anything but a cap pistol.
Oh yea, check to see if the barrel unscrews, there were 'screw barrel ' pistols made that looked like this too...they were breechloaders, and the 'magnums' of that time.
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Old September 14, 2002, 05:27 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info, Crimper-D. No, the barrel doesn't unscrew (at least I don't think so). The gun and I are in separate locales. You're right about not firing it or trying to! While the cocking mechanism works, the trigger releases at about .25 lb.! I can see it now, "All guns are always loaded all the time. Never point the muzzle at anything you are unwilling to de...BLAM!! No thanks. It was a wall hanger before I ever saw it.
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Old September 14, 2002, 07:59 PM   #7
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Hi, PKAY,

You are correct. Those pistols have very little value except as novelties or decorations. I have seen them sell for between $50 and $100 just because of age and shiny brass.

BTW, with ALL muzzle loaders, check to make sure there is not a load in the barrel. Those pistols were often left loaded so the user had only to put a cap on the nipple before putting it in his pocket. (This goes double for shotguns; they were often left loaded by the farmhouse door so only capping was needed if noise from the henhouse indicated the presence of Mr. Fox.)

Jim
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Old September 14, 2002, 09:05 PM   #8
PKAY
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Jim-Good advice!! I will tell the owner. My examination of the barrel showed lotsa powder residue, never cleaned. He is not a "gun guy" if you know what I mean. He wouldn't know the difference between a percussion cap and a thimble. No guns or percussion caps in his house. Next time I go there I will check the barrel on a bench and rap it a few times to dislodge any material that may be in there.
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