The Smith & Wesson No.1 First Issue revolver was the first successful rimfire cartridge revolver ever produced and was also the first model produced by Smith & Wesson on Rollin White's patent. Only 12,000 of these First Issue revolvers were manufactured between 1858 and 1860. This example is a Third Type First Issue with the spring loaded barrel catch and revolving recoil shield. The frame is engraved with scroll and floral engraving, and the back strap has a meander pattern. The cylinder has etched scroll patterns and the patent marking. The engraving and etching by Richard Bates Inshaw of Springfield Mass., who did most of the engraving for S&W at the time. The revolver also has a German silver blade front sight on top of the barrel rib which is marked "SMITH & WESSON. SPRINGFIELD. MASS." The serial number is marked on the barrel lug, cylinder face, butt, and inside of both grips. It comes in a rarely found early style case with a relief lid marked "MANUFACTURED ONLY BY/[image of No. 1 1st Issue]/SMITH & WESSON,/SPRINGFIELD MASSACHUSETTS", velvet interior with scroll patterns inside, and a full cartridge block of ammunition. Per the NRA Museums, these cases were offered for $1.25, and only an estimated 5,000 of them were manufactured by Littlefield, Parsons & Co. for Smith & Wesson.
Very fine as period engraved with 30% original blue finish, 85% original silver plating and crisp engraving on the frame, some spots of minor oxidation, and mild overall wear. The grips are very good and have mild lower edge wear, glossy varnish, and some scratches and dings. Mechanically fine. The case is very good and has mild age and storage related wear, a couple small flakes at the edge, aged brown tone on the exterior, and some contact wear on the interior. Provenance: Dr. Gerald Klaz collection.
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