This is an impeccably crafted sterling silver miniature novelty gun in the form of an antique percussion shotgun with wood-grain decoration. It is a replica of a Kentucky Pistol that comes from a cased set "Great Pistols of America" Miniatures by U.S. Historical Society. This was a limited edition of 2500. This one is numbered 26. They were made by well known American Silversmith William L. de Matteo (1923-1988). This novelty item is not a gun, it is a miniature. It has moving parts that add to the charm of the piece. It is 3 1/2" long and 3/4" wide. It is solid silver weighing a hefty 42 grams .
William L. deMatteo learned the craft of silversmithing from his father, Italian silversmith William G. deMatteo. The younger William (Bill) interrupted his studies in sculpture and fine arts at Columbia University to join the navy when the United States entered World War II. He served as a torpedo bomber pilot. After the war he resumed his apprenticeship with his father. He established the James Geddy Silversmith's Shop and forged the entire silversmiths program. He also became the first master silversmith at Colonial Williamsburg. It is only befitting that he fashioned these miniature guns for the U.S. Historical Society because of his love for American History and Colonial America.