Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1229: Tiffany Smith & Wesson 32 Safety Hammerless Revolver

Auction Date: May 15, 2021

Extremely Rare Tiffany Shipped and Deluxe Embellished Smith & Wesson .32 Safety Hammerless 1st Model Double Action Revolver with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $35,000 - $50,000

Extremely Rare Tiffany Shipped and Deluxe Embellished Smith & Wesson .32 Safety Hammerless 1st Model Double Action Revolver with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: 32 Safety Hammerless
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 32 S&W
Barrel: 3 1/2 inch solid rib
Finish: nickel
Grip: silver
Item Views: 1468
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 184
Class: Antique

From the 1880s to the early 1900s, the self-described “American multinational luxury jewelry and specialty retailer” Tiffany & Co. created spectacular and expensive highly embellished deluxe handguns and rifles for America’s leading firearms manufacturers such as Colt, Winchester and Smith & Wesson. The “rich and elaborate decorations” on handguns alone set a customer back $50.00 to $300.00 or about $1,400.00 to $8,600.00 in today’s money. The number of surviving Tiffany firearms remain unknown, but studies clearly show that S&W benefited the most from Tiffany’s world renowned master craftsmanship. Tiffany S&Ws are arguably the rarest and most desirable of the late 19th century American high art firearms, and offered here is one of those rare prizes in firearms art collecting that help define a private or public collection. The largest public display of Tiffany embellished 19th century arms can be viewed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Gallery 372. The lion’s share of the display was donated and/or sold by Dr. Gerald Klaz. Tiffany marked each piece they made on special order. The sterling silver grip on this revolver features fine etched Art Nouveau style floral scrollwork. The grip is signed “TIFFANY & CO./10076M7806/STERLING.” The numbers refer to the pattern and order and the letter “M” denotes Tiffany products which were made from 1873 to 1891. The etching extends to the rear of the frame with the original owners initials “P.D.O.” amongst the embellishment on the left side. The serial number “23990” appears on the cylinder and barrel. The accompanying factory letter lists this fine and highly sought after piece of 19th century firearms art with a 3 ½ inch barrel, nickel finish and checkered black hard rubber grips when shipped on October 30, 1889 and delivered directly to Tiffany & Co. of New York City. Provenance: The Dr. Gerald Klaz Collection

Rating Definition:

Excellent, retaining 95% original nickel finish with some flaking. 97% original blue finish remains on the trigger guard. Some strong traces of original case colors remain on the trigger. The grip is also excellent with an attractive aged appearance and a few minor handling marks. Mechanically needs work as the ejector does not extend when action is opened, otherwise the action functions fine. An exceptionally rare Tiffany embellished revolver.

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