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 remains 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. This grip is signed “TIFFANY CO/STERLING/M.” The letter “M” denotes Tiffany products which were made from 1873 to 1891. The hand hammered silver one piece grip features relief inscriptions and relief swirl patterns. The inscription is the following: the number “21” on the butt and the date “NOV. 30th/1883” in the finger grooves, possibly noting the milestone 21st birthday of the original owner. The serial number “36365” appears on the cylinder, barrel and barrel latch. 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 hard rubber grips when shipped on October 6, 1882 and delivered to M.W. Robinson Co. of New York City. Provenance: The Dr. Gerald Klaz Collection
Excellent, retaining 98% original nickel plating, 95% thinning original blue finish on the trigger guard and some original case colors on the trigger. The grip is also excellent with crisp relief work and highly attractive age darkened appearance. It has a purposely depressed area behind the hammer to allow for spur clearance when cycling the action. Revolver only works in double action mode due to raised border surrounding the hammer. An iconic Tiffany embellished revolver is a must have for the serious S&W collector.
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