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cek
August 16, 2009, 05:33 PM
I am going to use this fourm in an attempt to better document & understand my antique gun collection. I'm curious to see how much new information I can find (or just clarifications) via all of you.

To kick this off I'm starting with one my absolute favorites. A beautiful Smith & Wesson First Model Schofield Wells Fargo of 1875. Interesting article here (http://www.sam-hane.com/sass/schofield/history.htm).

All images clickable to see higher res versions...
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2665/3828002972_30e73f7399.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckindel/3828002972)

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2565/3828003994_c03f75d6d0.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckindel/3828003994)

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2446/3827207887_d938469356.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckindel/3827207887)

Here's what I know:


This is a S&W First Model Schofield Single Action. Made in 1875. Total 3,035 made.
Serial # 630
Sold as govt surplus to Schuyler, Hartley & Graham, N.Y. dealers who in turn sold them to Wells Fargo. WF & Co. inventory # 875.
First Model Schofield's normally have 7" bbls. These Wells Fargo models have 5" bbl.s


More detail on markings:

Serial # 630 with US stamp. Indicates Standard Model (Flayman's 5th ed).

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2559/3828015272_3f908d6299.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckindel/3828015272)

Left hand side markings. Patent dates of '65, '69, '71 without '73 indicates it's an early production model (Flayman's 5th ed).

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3540/3827209363_52a6908b27.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckindel/3827209363)

Right hand side markings. WF & Co with inventory number.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3569/3827208981_6e530a0225.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckindel/3827208981)

I don't have a lot of experience judging the condition of arms like this. Old notes from my father say "Exc. Very tight crisp action; 70% blue; Way above average!"

Thoughts & comments?

Thanks!

johnbt
August 16, 2009, 06:15 PM
Very nice. It looked so nice when I opened the thread my initial reaction was that it had been refinished. Then I saw the smooth wear on the front of the cylinder.

Here's one to look at to give you an idea of what a typical gun from that period looks like - in good condition with 30% finish...

www.apachego.com/wellsfargo/index.htm

http://www.apachego.com/wellsfargo/wf-c.jpg

They were asking $6500 and it's marked sold.

James K
August 16, 2009, 09:25 PM
A couple of things bother me. First, the gun was heavily polished and reblued in recent years, not as part of the earlier rework, since it was obviously done using a hot tank blue process.

Second, the marking "W.F. & Co." is not how those guns were marked. I have seen a couple of real ones, and have looked in the Standard Catalog to refresh my memory. The letters are much too large, and AFAIK all the original markings had the abbreviation "EX" (Express). The fact that the "Schofield's Patent" marking is almost obliterated is another indication that a heavily worn/rusted revolver was reblued.

In other words, to be blunt, I think the gun is a genuine Schofield, though refinished, but the Wells Fargo marking is fake.

Jim

cek
August 17, 2009, 12:25 AM
Thanks Jim. This gun was purchased by my father in 1972. His notes make no indication of him suspecting it was a fake.

From my perspective two things seem odd:


The W.F. & Co is missing the EX. Literature all indictes these guns should have read "W.F. & Co. EX".
The inventory number is 875 but the SN is 630. Most literature indicates WF used the SN #s for the inventory #s.


I'm not so sure about the finish, but if the WF stamp IS fake, then the finish is likely too I'd guess.

My dad, apparently, paid $450 for this in 1972. He'll probably roll in his grave if he knew it was fake!

In anycase, know I take no offense at your bluntness, but totally appreciate it. The point for me is to find out the real story.

Mike Irwin
August 17, 2009, 10:19 AM
There's some indication that Wells Fargo may have refinished some of their stock of S&W revolvers.

But, the Wells Fargo marking is a serious concern. I've seen quite a few of the WF guns, and none have had a marking even remotely like that.

cek
August 18, 2009, 12:49 PM
A Colt, but very similar stamp:

http://www.pugsguns.com/findItem.action?id=1940

Very cool website by the way!