Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1227: Early Smith & Wesson No. 1 Lever Action Repeating Pistol

Auction Date: May 15, 2021

Rare Early Production Smith & Wesson No. 1 Lever Action Repeating Pistol

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $27,500

Rare Early Production Smith & Wesson No. 1 Lever Action Repeating Pistol

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: Volcanic
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 31 Volcanic
Barrel: 4 inch
Finish: blue/brown
Grip: rosewood
Item Views: 970
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 180
Class: Antique

This Type I, No. 1 Lever Action Repeating Pistol was manufactured by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson in Norwich, Connecticut c. 1854. This small frame No. 1 pistol is serial numbered 19 and has the early Type I features that include: (1) flat muzzle, (2) flat magazine lock spring, (3) single screw retaining spring and (4) very rare loading lever with finger spur. The pistol has a "four-inch" part round/part octagon barrel with integral six-shot magazine. The barrel has a nickel silver, pinch-top, front sight and the magazine has a steel, clam-shell shaped follower. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped: "SMITH & WESSON/NORWICH. CT." The right side flat is roll-stamped: "CAST STEEL", and the left side flat is roll-stamped: "PATENT". The iron frame has a small, half-circle cut at the front of the ejection port and a simple notched, flattened cylinder rear sight. The sideplates, top and rear of the frame, back strap and top of the hammer are decorated with the simple but well-executed S&W open scrollwork factory engraving. The two-piece, bag-shaped, rosewood grips have a high polish piano finish. The serial number is stamped on the left side of the frame beneath the grips, on the left side of the hammer and on the inside of both grips. All of the visible serial numbers match. The barrel has a brown finish, the iron frame is blued, and the hammer and lever are color casehardened. Smith & Wesson manufactured approximately 700 No. 1 lever action pistols. The first 100 pistols, like this example, were serial numbered 1-100; subsequent pistols were numbered in 100 gun lots with "A-F" following the serial number. No.1 pistols with Type I features and finger spur loading levers are very rare. Provenance: The Dr. Gerald Klaz Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine. This pistol is all original. The barrel has 50% of the thin brown finish with finish wear on the muzzle collar and edges. The markings on the top flats are sharp. The iron frame and sideplates show 40% of the delicate bright original blue finish on protected areas. Most of the original blue has faded to a mottled, gray-brown patina. The simple but well executed factory scroll engraving is deep and crisp. The hammer, trigger and lever retain 40% of the muted case colors. The grips are in fine overall condition and have 80% of the piano finish with scattered minor handling marks. This is an outstanding example of a rare, very early production, S&W No.1, Type I, Lever Action Repeating Pistol. It would be nearly impossible to find a better example of this rare and historically significant S&W Volcanic pistol.

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