Excellent. The revolver retains 98% original dull military blue finish with a couple of minor scratches and dings in the area of the cylinder release, and a minor drag line on the cylinder. The grips are also excellent with 99% plus original varnish remaining showing only a few light handling marks. The action is excellent. The case is extremely fine with two separated partitions and some minor wear from cylinder contact. An extremely rare IMI manufactured revolver presented to one of World War II's greatest Generals from the Prime Minister of Israel. A must have for the most advanced military collection or museum.
This is an extremely rare IMI manufactured revolver. Only 52 of these revolvers were manufactured in 1952 and 1953 and all given as presents. The revolver is a copy of the Smith & Wesson Model 1917 45 caliber revolver, however the IMI revolver is chambered in the 9 mm Parabellum cartridge. It also comes with half moon clips to accommodate rimless ammunition. This particular revolver was presented to General Walter Bedell Smith from David Ben-Gurion the Prime Minister of Israel. General Smith started his military career as a private in the Indiana National Guard and rose to coordinating the entire planning of the invasion of North Africa and Normandy in World War II. He was General Dwight D. Eisenhower's Chief of Staff through most of the war, with the two becoming known as "Ike and Beetle". Winston Churchill nicknamed him "Bulldog" because of his tenacity in handling problems. Eisenhower once described Smith as "the general manager of the war," and he signed the Italian surrender document in September of 1943 on Eisenhowers behalf and in 1945 he headed the Allied group which accepted the unconditional surrender of Germany. When Eisenhower became President in 1953 the two were once again united with Smith being the Undersecretary of State. The only markings on the revolver are the IMI logo over the serial number on the right rear of the frame. The revolver looks almost identical to the Smith & Wesson Model 1917 with a different contour to the hammer and a slimmer grip frame. Blade front and frame notch rear sights, all blue finish and fitted with smooth varnished walnut grips and lanyard loop on the butt. The revolver comes in an Israeli olivewood case with purple velvet lining. The upper left hand corner of the lid has a silver "WBS" monogram and the inside of the lid has a silver plaque which reads "TO/LT. GENERAL WALTER BEDELL SMITH/IN APPRECIATION/DAVID BEN GURION/PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL". In the case is a box containing 13 half moon clips. The revolver is also accompanied by letters of correspondence from American gun expert Jac Weller and IMI, which give a brief history of the revolver. There is also a copy of General Smith's obituary.