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Auction Date: December 8, 2013

Lot 106: Smith & Wesson - 38 Safety Hammerless

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Rare and Excellent Factory Documented 1893 Chicago World's Fair Exposition Engraved Two-Tone Smith & Wesson 38 Safety Hammerless Third Model Double Action Revolver with Pearl Grips and Factory Letter
Estimated Price: $6,000 - $9,000
Item Views 165 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Smith & Wesson - 38 Safety Hammerless ManufacturerSmith & Wesson Model38 Safety Hammerless
TypeRevolver Gauge38 S&W Catalog Page31
Barrel4 Inch Solid Rib FinishNickel/gold GripPearl
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThe included Smith & Wesson factory letter confirms that this revolver, serial number 68303, was "offered [by Smith & Wesson] for sale at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, but did not sell and was sold after the close of the World's Fair." Although held in 1893, the Chicago World's Fair celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's landing in America (1492) and became a symbol of American exceptionalism that was sweeping the nation. Larger and grander than other world's fairs of the past, the six month running fair was attended by more than 27 million people and showed the world that Chicago had risen from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. At the fair Smith & Wesson exhibited spectacular decorated handguns, including those manufactured in conjunction with Tiffany & Co. The exhibition engraving on the revolver is indicative of the rich quality and style of scrollwork offered by Smith & Wesson. The engraving is done in the hand of one of the Young family members, arguably the greatest family dynasty in the 19th century American engraving: Gustave, Oscar or Eugene. The factory letter also confirms the 4 inch barrel, factory engraving, nickel and gold finish and pearl grips and that the revolver was shipped from the S&W factory on January 15, 1894 to Hartley & Graham Co., New York City. The top of the barrel rib has the two line address/patent marking. The scroll and dot exposition engraving is featured on the barrel sides, frame sides, top strap, top rear of the frame and back strap to extend to the butt surrounding the serial number. It features a half moon front sight, notch rear sight ahead of the latch, checkered back strap grip safety and 5-round auto ejecting cylinder. Nickel with gold finished cylinder, blue trigger guard and casehardened trigger and fitted with pearl grips.

ConditionVery fine. The revolver retains 90% plus original nickel finish and 30% original gold finish with a smooth gray patina on the balance. Some pin point pitting is present on the cylinder. The trigger guard retains traces of original blue finish and the trigger has faded to a gray. The grips are very fine with a few minor pressure dents and some minor scratches. The pearl has a very attractive color. Mechanically fine.
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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.