Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1237: Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Revolver with Kelton Safety

Auction Date: May 15, 2021

Extremely Scarce, Excellent and Factory Documented Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Single Action Revolver with Kelton Safety and Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $16,000 - $22,500

Extremely Scarce, Excellent and Factory Documented Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Single Action Revolver with Kelton Safety and Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: New Model No 3
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 S&W Russian
Barrel: 6 1/2 inch solid rib
Finish: nickel
Grip: hard rubber
Item Views: 922
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 191
Class: Antique

Offered here is one of the rarest variations of the New Model No. 3 revolver S&W manufactured. This revolver is one of only 20 S&W factory documented New Model No. 3s fitted with a Kelton safety. The Kelton safety is a thumb activated inner locking safety device bar, which, when pressed down by the thumb, allowed the revolver to be fire. The then sitting Assistant Adjutant General of the Army, Colonel John C. Kelton, patented his safety in 1885, the same year the Ordnance Department fitted approximately 25 S&W Schofield revolvers with his safety. At the S&W factory, at least 20 New Model No. 3s were fitted with factory manufactured Kelton safeties. The accompanying factory letter confirms the revolver was factory fitted with a Kelton safety and is one of 20 units produced of this variation in the serial number range 24510-24519. None of the 20 units are recorded as being shipped. This revolver is pictured and identified in Neal and Jinks' "Smith & Wesson 1857-1945" on page 230 and further information related to the Kelton safety appears in the included copy of Ronald A. Ogan's article "A Smith and Wesson New Model 3 Kelton Revolver" published in the June 1982 issue of The Gun Report. The Kelton safety is fitted to the right side of the frame by a single screw. The barrel rib marking ends with the reissue patent date. It has a 1 7/16 inch cylinder. Matching serial numbers appear on the butt, right grip panel, cylinder, barrel and barrel latch. Provenance: The Robert N. Nadler Collection and The Dr. Gerald Klaz Collection

Rating Definition:

Excellent, retaining 97% original nickel finish showing an area of dark patina mixed with pitting on the top strap. Top of barrel latch shows signs of being cleaned. 97% original case colors remain on the hammer and trigger guard. The grips are also excellent with minimal handling marks and crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent, including the Kelton safety. A highly prized, high condition factory documented New Model No. 3 Kelton safety revolvers missing from even the most prestigious S&W collections. A must have for the serious S&W collector! One can spend a lifetime looking for this revolver!

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