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 Historic Documented Exhibition Factory Engraved and Gold Plated Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless Displayed at the Famous 1893 Columbian Exposition World's Fair in Chicago
LOT 307
Documented and Phenomenal Gustave Young Factory Engraved, Gold Plated, Inscribed Smith & Wesson .38 Safety Hammerless 3rd Model Double Action Revolver with Pearl Grips and Case Exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition
in Chicago - Serial no. 68309, 38 S&W cal., 4 inch solid rib bbl., gold finish, pearl grips. Rock Island Auction Co. is pleased to present this sensational Gustave Young engraved, gold plated S&W .38 Safety Hammerless Revolver documented as being displayed at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The revolver is identified by serial number
in Smith & Wesson’s Exposition catalog “Description and Prices of Finely Decorated Revolvers Prepared for World’s Fair at Chicago, 1893. The revolver is listed on page 6 with the following description: “Safety Hammerless Revolver, 38 calibre, 3-1/4”barrel, full gold plate, engraved with pearl stock, No. 68309”.
It is not often that we catalog firearms
identified by serial number as being
exhibited at a World’s Fair. In this case,
however, the S&W exposition catalog
makes for definitive evidence that this
prestigious and historically significant
.38 Safety Hammerless was among the
highly finished revolvers S&W exhibited
at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition
in Chicago. These exceptionally rare
World’s Fair showpieces are the
embodiment of the high art firearms
scene in the late 19th century. A copy of
this S&W exposition catalog is included.
Also included is an original 1893 Columbian Exposition day ticket for October
9, 1893 and a 12x18 inch period photograph (modern reprint) of the 3Palace of Mechanical Arts, the building where S&W exhibited its fine revolvers during the
1893 Columbian Exposition. World renowned Master Engraver Gustave Young
worked with Smith & Wesson as early as 1865 after serving as Colt’s Master
Engraver and was the in-house engraver for Smith & Wesson starting in 1869 until his death in 1895. His sons, Oscar, Eugene, and Robert, also worked for Smith & Wesson and used similar styles. On this revolver Young’s fine exhibition quality scrollwork on
a punch dot background covers 90% of the surface. The underside of the barrel has an inscription: “G.H. Kohn Chicago.” The trigger guard and barrel release are blued, the trigger is casehardened, and the remaining surfaces are plated in gold. The revolver
is wearing highly attractive gold S&W medallion pearl grips. Matching serial numbers
appear on the butt, cylinder, and barrel. The period partitioned case contains a case
key and a box of Peters Cartridge Co. .38 S&W cartridges.
CONDITION: Excellent, retaining 97% original gold plating. The engraving is crisp. The
trigger retains traces of original case colors, otherwise faded to an attractive gray. The
trigger guard retains nearly all original blue finish. The grips are also excellent with
highly attractive fiery colors. Mechanically excellent. The is very good with minimal cracking along the grain and minor handling/storage marks. A definitive work of art prepared by Gustave Young for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago that will add value to even the most advanced S&W or firearms art collection.
Estimate: 7,500 - 10,000

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