This S&W "Old Army" revolver was manufactured in 1861 and has the highly desirable early production two pin top strap, as opposed to three pins used in later production. Its extremely low serial number, 3, makes it one of the earliest "Old Armies" known to collectors. Serial no 2 resides in a private collection. Adding to no. 3's desirability is the rare original 5 inch barrel. The standard barrel length of the Model 2 was 6 inches. Barrels lengths of 4, 5, and 8 inches are considered rare. The barrel rib has the one-line S&W Springfield address ("SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS"). The cylinder has the patent marking. The number "3" is stamped on the butt, both grip panels, left side of the grip frame, cylinder, and barrel. The Model 2 was the first revolver S&W manufactured in a caliber larger than .22 rimfire. Many Model 2s saw hard use during the Civil War. Its easy to load and unload, rapid fire design made it highly popular with Union officers and pioneers headed westward, and the model remains highly popular with today's collectors. As serial number 3 this Old Army is certainly worthy of being a crown jewel in any collection.
Truly a diamond in the rough, serial no. 3 has all of the character of a well traveled, authentic working gun. 70% of the period replated nickel plating remains with a smooth dark brown patina on the balance. The refinished grips are poor with a large chip missing out of lower right panel. A top strap pin and screw are absent, two other screws are oversize replacements, the grips show extensive honest wear and tear, the side plate is a hand made replacement, and the action in need of mechanical work. All signs point to this revolver having seen serious use during a period in American history defined by a civil war and the epic march towards westward expansion. As one of the earliest known S&W Model 2 Old Army Revolvers, serial number 3 stands as a tangible link to the historic S&W legacy and the American spirit. It is a must have for the serious S&W collector.
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