Lot #1103
Lot #1105

Lot 1104: Engraved Special Order Smith & Wesson No. 3 American Revolver

Documented, Engraved Special Order Smith & Wesson No. 3 American First Model Single Action Revolver Chambered in .44 Russian with Pearl Grips

Auction Date: December 10, 2022

Lot 1104: Engraved Special Order Smith & Wesson No. 3 American Revolver

Documented, Engraved Special Order Smith & Wesson No. 3 American First Model Single Action Revolver Chambered in .44 Russian with Pearl Grips

Auction Date: December 10, 2022

Estimated Price: $5,000 - $6,500
Price Realized:

Documented, Engraved Special Order Smith & Wesson No. 3 American First Model Single Action Revolver Chambered in .44 Russian with Pearl Grips

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: 3 American
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 S&W Russian
Barrel: 6 3/8 inch solid rib
Finish: nickel
Grip: pearl
Stock:
Item Views: 455
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 98
Class: Antique
Description:

This American is a First Model chambered in .44 Russian caliber, one of a small few found in the 2600-3100 serial number range that were apparently the first commercial sale examples known produced in this caliber, pre-dating the "Russian Model" barrel roll marks. The lack of a hammer interlock lip and the presence of a flat bottom frame at the rear pin and a German silver blade front sight are the distinctive features of a No. 3 American 1st Model. Introduced circa 1870, standard chambering for the No. 3 American was in .44 American with around 200 manufactured in .44 Rimfire Henry, and the standard barrel length was 8 inches. The barrel length on this revolver was professionally shortened just slightly over one and a half inches. The first Russian Model began as a variant of the American chambered in .44 Russian. The early .44 Russian chambering alone makes this American even rarer than those chambered in .44 Rimfire Henry. As an extreme rarity in S&W collecting, this revolver has enjoyed coverage in prominent S&W related publications: Dean Boorman’s “The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms” on page 106 (caliber and barrel length are incorrectly listed as .44 S&W American and 6 inches respectively), Michael Kennelly’s “Smith & Wesson Engraving” on page 63, and Supica and Nahas’ “Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson” on page 40. Experts agree the engraving was by Gustave Young, noting the style of engraving, especially the use Young’s “donut” motif, as their evidence. The scroll engraving on a punch dot background covers 90% of the surface. The barrel rib has the American Model one-line address/patent dates legend correctly lacking the “RUSSIAN MODEL” marking, which was not yet in use. The grips could not be removed; otherwise, matching assembly number “4” is confirmed on the cylinder, barrel, and barrel latch. The revolver wears a set of plain pearl grips. Provenance: The Supica Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine. The barrel retains 85% nickel plating, and the frame retains 60% original nickel with the cylinder a balance of a mixture of gray and dark patinas. The engraving is crisp overall. The grips are also fine with a couple chips. Mechanically excellent. This highly engraved special order S&W No. 3 American First Model Revolver chambered in .44 Russian certainly makes for a fine unusual addition to even the most advanced S&W collections.



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