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Auction Date: December 2, 2011

Lot 1345: Smith & Wesson - Schofield

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Only Known New York Engraved U.S. Contract Smith & Wesson 1st Model Schofield Single Action Revolver with Kelton Safety, Ivory Grips and Factory Letter
Estimated Price: $30,000 - $45,000
Item Views 380 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Smith & Wesson - Schofield ManufacturerSmith & Wesson ModelSchofield
TypeRevolver Gauge45 Schofield Catalog Page271
Barrel7 Inch Solid Rib FinishNickel/silver GripIvory
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThe Smith & Wesson 1st Model Schofield single action revolver was manufactured for the U.S. government in 1875 with a total production of only about 3000. This revolver has the "U.S." property stamp on the butt and ordnance inspection marks on the barrel, cylinder and frame. This revolver represents the ONLY Kelton Safety Model known to have been engraved. This revolver was probably embellished for a client of Francis Bannerman or Schuyler-Hartley & Graham, New York City distributors who purchased the Schofield models when they were sold as U.S. Army surplus in 1880-1881. The revolver features typical New York scroll and vine pattern down the length of the barrel with vine and floral motifs on the frame. The barrel is nickel plated, and the frame, cylinder, hammer, barrel latch and Kelton Safety are silver plated. The left side of the barrel lug is roll-stamped with the Smith & Wesson address and patent dates in two lines. The opposite side of the barrel lug is roll-stamped: "SCHOFIELD'S PAT. APR. 22D 1873" with a Maltese Cross on either end of the marking. The serial number is located on the butt and the rear face of the cylinder. The "L" inspection mark of Ordnance Sub-Inspector Samuel B. Lewis is stamped on the bottom of the barrel lug, the inside of the frame, and the rear face of the cylinder. A "P" proofmark is stamped on the bottom of the barrel lug and on the rear of the cylinder face. The right side of the frame is equipped with a Kelton type thumb safety. The patented safety lever is attached with one screw and functions as a thumb activated interlocking safety. Information on the Kelton Safety is somewhat limited. What is known is that the ordnance department fitted approximately 25 revolvers with a safety hammer device invented by Col. John C. Kelton who was serving as Assistant Adjutant General, see Neal & Jinks book, "Smith & Wesson, 1857-1945", page 219. The factory letter states that this revolver was shipped on July 12, 1875 and delivered to the United States Armory, Springfield MA. Provenance: Known to collectors for over 60 years, this extremely rare revolver was first discovered on the West Coast just after WW II by pioneer S&W collector, Bill Williams, who sold it in 1966-1967 to well-known fellow S&W collector, Henry N. "Hank" Means, who kept it for now well-over 40+ years. The ivory grips were made for this gun sometime in 1967, soon after Mr. Means acquisition, due to the original ivory grips being badly damaged long ago.

ConditionVery good. 85+% nickel finish remains on the barrel, thinning along high points and around the muzzle and showing only very minor handling marks. The frame, cylinder, and safety retain most all of the silver plated finish, pleasantly darkening with age and thinning slightly on the backstrap. All markings are still crisp and clear. The engraving is sharp and well executed. The grips are excellent plus. This unique and very rare revolver is truly a one-of-a-kind Smith & Wesson!!
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