One hundred and thirty-two years after Lincoln’s death, a bizarre footnote was added to the pistol’s history. In 1997, the FBI was called in to authenticate the gun after a career criminal claimed members of his gang had stolen the derringer during the late 1960s and replaced it with a fake.
The lead bullet removed from Lincoln’s head was so badly corroded that matching it with the gun was out of the question. So the FBI’s Special Photographic Unit superimposed historical photos taken of the derringer during the 1930s with the actual gun at Ford’s Theatre, matching swirl patterns in the black walnut grain of the stock, pit marks on the barrel and a crack in the forestock. The pistol is definitely Booth’s.