Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 149: Smith & Wesson 32 Safety Hammerless Revolver 32 CF

Auction Date: April 21, 2013

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

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $50,000 - $75,000

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

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: 32 Safety Hammerless
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 32 CF
Barrel: 3 1/2 inch solid rib
Finish: blue
Grip: ivory
Stock:
Item Views: 5508
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 34
Class: Antique
Description:

Manufactured 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.

Rating Definition:

Very 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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