Friday, May 27, 2011

Hopkins and Allen .22 Rimfire Vest Pocket Derringer

This vest pocket sold for $2500
A little background on the company to begin. Incorporated on June 15, 1868 by Charles A. Converse, Charles W. Allen, Horace Briggs, Samuel S. Hopkins and Charles W. Hopkins. Since most were partners in Bacon Manufacturing Co. and Continental Arms Co and both companies ceased all operations at the time Hopkins & Allen was founded one could think of Hopkins & Allen Manufacturing Company (Hopkins & Allen) as successor to those companies. Merwin Hulbert & Co. became sole distributor of Hopkins & Allen in 1871. As of 1875 H&A made several lines of revolvers exclusively for Merwin, Hulbert & Co. e.g. the XL series however, with a double action feature and with a trigger guard. Hopkins & Allen became a cash cow for Merwin, Hulbert & Co. When Merwin, Hulbert & Co went bankrupt in 1896 then so did Hopkins & Allen in 1898. The company was reoganized as Hopkins & Allen Arms Company. H & A was taken over by Marlin-Rockwell in 1914

Less than 1400 of the .22 r.f. short caliber vest pocket derringers, 1 3/4" tip-down barrel, birdhead grips, spur trigger were produced between 1911 and 1915 and it was also known as the "Parrot Beak" derringer. Value of these runs from about $950-4000 depending on condition. Obviously a .22 Short (and this would NOT be the High Velocity round) is not a man-stopper but at the time any wound was potentially deadly. This gun filled the same role as today's North American Arms .22 mini-revolvers.

I have never owned one of these little guns. In fact, I hadn't seen one until this morning at the gun shop. It is cute but one wonders just how one is supposed to hold the gun AND see the front sight much less aim. That front sight might be prominent but it is useless and there is no rear reference. While it is a small and uncomplicated firearm the impression one has in handling it is that it is precisely fit and has an attractive finish.

Below is the one from the shop. It has had a brazed repair to the frame (I'd like to hear about why that was necessary.) and the mother-of-pearl stocks seem to have shrunk a bit...

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