Brown Trout: pictures
Agree, the workmanship on the shortened barrel/front sight was well done. I'm sure it was not done at the S&W factory. The factory would never remove the front lug for the ejector rod. Also I've never seen a front sight like that one on an S&W. However there were other good gunsmiths besides those at S&W.
The grips look correct for the era and are of the style used from 1929-1941. If the left grip panel is as nice as the right-side one the they would certainly be of interest to collectors. A very knowledgeable collector friend estimated $50-75. Considering the good condition, a collector who really wanted them might go even higher.
The revolver most likely had a lanyard loop in the butt at one time; the loop has been removed and the hole filled.
Since you paid $233 for it I don't see you losing any money on the deal. I know collectors who would pay $250 just to get the grips, and would do as you suggest; put a set of non-collectible grips on and resell the revolver.
The issue of shooting .38 Specials in these converted revolvers is debatable. Personally I wouldn't but then I have other revolvers. I know shooters and collectors whose opinions I respect who have no problem with shooting standard (i.e. not +P) .38 Specials in these converted revolvers. Certainly in quality of steel, heat treatment and workmanship they are the same as .38 Special K-frames of the same era.
You'll get different opinions also on shooting .38 S&W cartridges in these converted chambers. Some sources say they work fine, others say accuracy is considerably reduced. Since I've never tried it I can't offer an opinion.