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Selling: April 21, 2013

Lot 149: Smith & Wesson - 32 Safety Hammerless

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Extremely Rare Documented Tiffany and Co. Marked Smith & Wesson First Model 32 Safety Hammerless DA Revolver with Factory Letter and Embellished Sterling Silver Tiffany Ivory Encased Grip
Estimated Price: $50,000 - $75,000
Item Views 2 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Smith & Wesson - 32 Safety Hammerless ManufacturerSmith & Wesson Model32 Safety Hammerless
TypeRevolver Gauge32 CF Catalog Page34
Barrel3 1/2 Inch Solid Rib FinishBlue GripIvory
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionManufactured in 1888, this revolver was shipped with another revolver (the consecutively serialized, number 20451) to Tiffany & Co. in New York City where the extraordinary decoration was performed to fill a special order. The frame has been fitted with a sterling silver overlay etched with floral designs and a decorative front and back strap with a shell pattern solid one-piece ivory grip. There is a engraved silver knob on the butt of the grip. Directly behind the trigger guard is stamped "TIFFANY & CO/10076M7652/STERLING". There are many Tiffany gripped revolvers pictured in "Steel Canvas The Art of American Arms" by R.L. Wilson and on page 274 is a Smith & Wesson 38 Double Action revolver with a similar style grip frame and a ornately carved ivory grip. Tiffany was directly involved with the manufacturing of silver revolver grips for Smith & Wesson and Colt. Early grips were designed like the standard wood grips. In the 1860s a style of cast metal grips appeared on presentation revolvers. These grips were more reminiscent of the hiltings on presentation swords. The grip style acquired the name Tiffany mostly because they exhibited the lush Victorian taste of embellishment found not only on swords but on many of Tiffany's other silver items. The top of the barrel rib is marked with the two line address/patent dates. The serial number is marked on the rear face of the cylinder and the partial matching number "452" is marked on the underside of the top strap next to the latch. Standard blade front and notch rear sights. The accompanying Smith & Wesson factory letter verifies the First Model 32 Safety Hammerless revolver as having a 3 1/2 inch barrel, 32 S&W caliber, nickel finish and checkered black hard rubber grips at the time of shipment on November 22, 1888 to Tiffany & Co., New York City, New York.

ConditionVery good. The barrel assembly and cylinder retain a bright appearance. The trigger guard retains traces original bright blue finish in the protected areas with a smooth gray patina on the balance. The trigger shows much of the original case colors which have darkened with age. The Tiffany overlay remains very good with a small period repair on the lower left side and there are a few minor scratches. The engraving remains crisp and clear. The grip is also very good with some light chipping on the upper left side, a mellow patina and attractive grain. The barrel rib markings are clear and crisp. The action is excellent. A distinctive, beautiful lavishly embellished Smith & Wesson revolver by Tiffany & Co.
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Shipping

SHIPPING CHARGES. All shipping charges must be paid by the successful bidder prior to delivery of the firearm. If Rock Island Auction (RIAC) is asked to ship the purchased lots, there will be a separate charge for such shipping. Shipping charges will be based upon what it costs RIAC to ship the purchased lots to the purchaser. All items must have shipping insurance; this insurance is mandatory. RIAC will not charge any labor charges for shipping. RIAC is not liable for any acts of omissions in packaging or shipping. Purchased lots handled by outside carriers or packers, including those RIAC may have recommended, may carry their own insurance and any claims for losses or damages should be addressed directly to the outside carriers or packers. RIAC will arrange for packing and shipping at RIAC’s earliest possible convenience. RIAC will attempt to ship as soon as possible; however, due to RIAC’s high volume of absentee bids, shipping can take up to two weeks after full payment is received. In the case of crating or any exceptional packaging, the purchaser will be charged RIAC’s cost from outside agents. Purchaser pays shipping, packing materials, and insurance charges. The shipping of any purchased items outside of the United States is hereby classified as “foreign export”. All foreign export is the sole responsibility of the purchaser.