The accompanying S&W factory letter confirms that this revolver was a rare special order round butt variation of the Model 19 with a 4 inch barrel, ramp front sight, blue finish, Goncalo Alves and target hammer when it was shipped as one of a matching consecutive pair (K464496) on December 18, 1961, and delivered to FBI Special Agent Harvey Foster, New York City. Special Agent Foster was head of the bureau's New York division from 1958 to 1962. After retiring from the FBI in 1962, he went on to become a vice president at American Airlines. The revolver has standard S&W markings, matching serial numbers on the butt, yoke, ejector shroud and cylinder. The backs to both grip panels are stamped with the number “46,” and the left grip panel is marked with the last three digits of the serial number “497” in pencil. The left side of the grip frame has the factory “B” and diamond marking, which is dated July 1962. This marking is repeated on the rear cylinder face underneath the ejector and ejector shroud. The back of the frame has the gold inlaid script initials “WOS” above the year “1962.” The initials are for William O. Sweet, who was a longtime friend of Special Agent Foster. On several occasions Foster worked with Sweet to acquire special factory built presentation guns. Incidentally, Foster retired from the FBI in 1962. It is known that Foster ordered a pair of consecutively numbered revolvers for himself and his friend Sweet around the time of his retirement. Sweet was no stranger to the FBI. In the 1950s, for instance, Sweet presented FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover with an extensively Alvin White engraved .357 Magnum (K333333). Sweet was a close friend of the renowned firearms engraver Alvin A. White, who lived and worked in Sweet's home town of Attleboro, Massachusetts. Sweet was also heir to Sweet Manufacturing Company, longtime jewelry chain manufacturing company in Attleboro established in 1904. At the factory Sweet housed his western firearms collection, which included about 45 Native American related guns and rivaled even the best museums. Provenance: William Sweet and Chad Gripp Collections
Extremely fine as factory refinished and embellished by Master Engraver Alvin A. White for renowned firearms collector William Sweet. The revolver retains 98% plus of blue finish showing slight loss at the muzzle and a light cylinder drag line. Nearly all of the vivid original case colors remain. The grips are fine with a few minor handling marks and a sizeable area of wear checkering on the left panel. Mechanically excellent. Truly a unique FBI linked Model 19 revolver that will add value and interest to any modern S&W collection!
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