The New Model No. 3 .38 Winchester Revolver is one of the rarest production models manufactured by S&W. From 1900 to 1907 only 74 units of this model were manufactured, and all units are found in the serial number range 1-74. Offered here is serial number 1! These ultra rare S&W revolvers were built in New Model No. 3 configuration but with the long 1 9/16 inch cylinder to accommodate the .38-40 Winchester cartridge. The New Model No. 3 is often credited as the most advanced revolver design of the 19th century, made popular by lawmen and outlaws of the Western frontier who took their choice of sidearm very seriously. The accompanying factory letter for serial no. 1 confirms the revolver was shipped on July 24, 1901, and delivered to G. Tritch Hardware Co. of Denver Colorado. In the factory letter S&W historian Roy Jinks notes, "This was the largest single shipment of this rare model." George Tritch (1829-1899) immigrated from Germany as a child around 1831 and established his first hardware store in Denver in 1860. The first store operated out of the cabin where the Tritch family also lived. The George Tritch Hardware Company grew to become one of Denver's most successful commercial ventures during a time when Colorado had a well known reputation for being an unforgiving and lawless environment as settlers pushed westward in their quest to build their own American Dream. Years of unrest and bloodshed paved the way for the region to become the beacon of development of the West. Serial no. 1 is a high condition, well cared for Colorado shipped sidearm. The left side of the barrel is stamped "38 WINCHESTER CTG," and the barrel rib has the one-line address. Matching serial number "1" appears on the butt, cylinder, barrel, and barrel latch. Over the years the revolver has been well-documented in various publications including Dean Boorman's "The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms" on page 108, "Guns of the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum on page 198, and Jim Supica's "The Illustrated History of Firearms, 2nd Edition" on page 94. The revolver was also loaned to the NRA Museum for a number of years and was on display there until two years ago. Provenance: The Supica Collection
Very fine, retaining 70% bright original high polish blue finish with smooth brown-gray patina on the grip straps and scratches. The hammer retains 98% plus vivid period refurbished case colors. The trigger guard has faded to an attractive gray patina. The grips are also very fine with some minor handling marks and overall crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. This Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 .38 Winchester Revolver serial no. 1 is a must have for the serious collector, especially a collector who is on the hunt for one of S&W's rarest production models.
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