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Old April 20, 2016, 01:46 PM   #1
SCCARMY
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Masterpiece S&W 1955

Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum and this is the first thread. So being that it is my first thread, I figure I should start out with class. I would like to get everyone's opinion on value of one of my guns.

The gun is a S&W 45 Revolver Model 1955 and to my knowledge it is a one of a kind piece. It has never been fired and was owned by my uncle who was on the Army competition shooting team in the 1950s. I think he may have one this from one of his competitions; however it is equally as likely that he purchased it from S&W.

Well that is it for now, I look forward to comments.

(I have more pics and will attach higher quality ones later)

Cheers,
Attached Images
File Type: jpg I.jpg (141.1 KB, 114 views)
File Type: jpg C.jpg (137.1 KB, 85 views)
File Type: jpg B.jpg (146.4 KB, 77 views)
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Old April 20, 2016, 01:48 PM   #2
SCCARMY
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More pictures

Here are some additional pictures
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File Type: jpg A.jpg (111.3 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg D.jpg (153.2 KB, 70 views)
File Type: jpg E.jpg (163.5 KB, 82 views)
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Old April 20, 2016, 01:55 PM   #3
BarryLee
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Wow, nice gun. I believe S&W has someone on staff that can help you with the provenance of this gun You might want to call their Customer Service line and see if they can offer any more details.

http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...4_757812_image
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Old April 20, 2016, 02:04 PM   #4
James K
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That is very good engraving, but I don't think it is factory. The reason is that S&W factory engravers never (AFAIK) engraved the area on the cylinder between the stop notches, where the stop leaves drag marks, since the stop would "smear" the engraving. (Yes, I know such a gun would probably never be fired, but the factory always assumes it is first a gun and only secondly an art work.)

Jim
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Old April 20, 2016, 03:22 PM   #5
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That is incredible.

That last picture of the stocks.............WOW !

You are correct, that is a masterpiece.
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Old April 20, 2016, 06:12 PM   #6
kilimanjaro
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Very nice, indeed.
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Old April 20, 2016, 07:55 PM   #7
Bill DeShivs
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My bet is that it IS factory engraving.
S&W can tell you.
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Old April 21, 2016, 06:28 AM   #8
2damnold4this
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Very impressive.
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Old April 21, 2016, 08:07 AM   #9
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I agree with Jim, it's not factory engraving. The style is reminiscent of some of the post 1900 engravers, but as he points out there are certain tells that it was done outside of the factory.

Without examining it, it's hard to say just how good the engraver was, but it would appear from the photos that he was very good.

Valuing such a gun can be very difficult because they are literally one off pieces and there's often not much to compare them against.

With a factory engraved gun, you have all of the other factory engraved guns in the same era to form the comparison.

It could be that the engraver signed it somewhere. If so, that can go a long way towards helping establish a value level, especially if the engraver is a known person.
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Old April 21, 2016, 08:23 AM   #10
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"My bet is that it IS factory engraving.
S&W can tell you."

Jim's right. Even on their presentation guns, S&W didn't engrave the area around the cylinder notches, at least not in such a manner that the engraving would be damaged by the cylinder bolt.

Russell Smith would engrave as close as you could get to the drag area, but wouldn't encroach on it. He always left an area engraving free where the cylinder bolt would drag.

Also, Smith & Wesson engravers tended not to engrave inside the cylinder flutes. That's almost a dead giveaway of aftermarket engraving.

Here's some of Smith's work, and you'll see what I mean about the drag line area...

http://www.rockislandauction.com/vie...id/63/lid/3482


My guess, thinking about this some more, and given the extensive gold work?

This revolver was engraved and embellished by a high end jeweler in a major city like New York or Chicago.

If it was one of the big firms, it might be possible to identify the work from the engraving pattern alone.


It's also possible that the gun was purchased and sent directly to a jeweler or engraver for use as a presentation gun.

Spending the money on the S&W research letter is a wise investment.
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Old April 21, 2016, 09:56 AM   #11
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Another indication of the quality of engraving in scroll work is the "broken" scroll. That is where the engraver starts to cut a circle and then finds out that (oops!) he has run out of space and has to change the angle of the arc, making in a way, a football out of what was intended to be a basketball. With engraving, as with many other things in life, the devil is in the details.

A comparison between the engraving on the OP's revolver and that on the Rock Island gun will (IMHO) show the latter work to be superior.

As an aside, many years ago I was at an NRA convention when they still held them in D.C. S&W had a factory engraver working at their booth, actually engraving a revolver right there. While he cut perfect scrolls, he chatted with the other S&W employees and with the people around him, talking about the day's news, the weather, his experience, or whatever. I have never seen anything like it; I could not have done my work under those conditions, and I doubt many could, but he was "on automatic", fingers and hands seemingly working without conscious control. That man, whoever he was, was a real pro.

Jim
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Old April 21, 2016, 12:03 PM   #12
SCCARMY
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Thank you Everyone

Hello again,

I really appreciate all of the comments you guys have made. I contacted the S&W Collectors Asc. and they provided me the letter I need to send to S&W to determine if this is in fact a S&W engraving. From their comments, they believe that it is a factory engraving; but held back from saying 100%. I will have some high quality pictures taken and get the letter and photos to S&W in the next week or so. I am very excited to hear what they have to say. The most amazing thing would be to find out exactly who the engraver is/was.

Cheers,
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Old April 22, 2016, 11:24 AM   #13
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I'm really looking forward to hearing more about this.

I'm also noticing that what I thought were several badly cut floral scrolls in the steel are actually in the engraving in the wood of the grip extensions.

I can't see the engraving clearly enough in any of the pictures to really make an assessment.

But, there's one more feature that makes me think that this was not a factory-engraved gun...

Picture B, of the barrel...

Smith & Wesson is not completely framed in the gold inlay.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy that a factory engraver would ever let the company name run out of the cartouche.
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Old April 22, 2016, 12:05 PM   #14
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Picture C appears to show considerable pitting under the bluing, but I could be wrong. Otherwise, I would say the gun was engraved by a master engraver in 100% coverage style, with gold inlays and carved grips. Options like this were available from S&W if you wanted to pay the price. You could even send your gun in to them and have the work done.
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