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The accompanying factory letter states this revolver was shipped on December 8, 1906, and delivered to Marcus Hartley and Co. of New York City. In the letter S&W historian Roy Jinks continues: “This was a large shipment for 50 units and it does not list anything other than the revolvers were .38 Double Action. Smith & Wesson did offer 2.5 inch barrels for this model on special order.” While factory records are absent of configuration details, the 2 1⁄2 inch barrel on this .38 DA is most definitely factory and correct, just as it was the day it left the factory on December 8, 1906.
 LOT 98
M. Hartley Co. Retailer Shipped and Cased L.D. Nimschke New York Engraved
Nickel and Gold Plated Smith & Wesson .38 Double Action 4th Model Bicycle Revolver
Attributed as a Gift From U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt Presented Before His
1913-14 Amazon Expedition with Factory Letter and Statement of Provenance - Serial no.
495481, 38 S&W cal., 2 1/2 inch solid rib bbl., silver/ gold finish, pearl grips. By the turn of the century S&W
was turning out special order short barrel variation (usually
2 inch) revolvers in its top-break Double Action line. These short barrel
models are affectionately called “Bicycle Guns” and are generally found in the .32 and .38 Safety Hammerless series. S&W Double Action “Bicycle Guns” are far rarer than
their 2 inch Safety Hammerless cousins. But the rarest of all of these “bicycle guns” are encountered in the .38 Double Action models. In the “Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson,” authors Supica and Nahas speak to the rarity of a .38 Double Action 4th Model Bicycle Revolver: “At least one made with a 2-1/2” barrel, very rare, worth substantial premium.” While it is not known if Supica and Nahas were aware of this particular .38 Double Action 4th Model Bicycle gun, it nonetheless makes for a nearly impossible to find S&W model. This extreme rarity in S&W collecting was engraved by famed 19th century Master Engraver L.D. Nimschke or his shop, which only adds to its uniqueness and desirability. The near full coverage engraving consists of Nimschke’s characteristic American style bold floral scrollwork on punch dot backgrounds. The scrolls surround the S&W monogram on the right side of the frame. The caliber marking is featured in a panel on the left side of the barrel. Fine zig-zag borders decorate the barrel, and the rear of the cylinder features a wavy line and dot band. The back strap has a blank inscription panel. The ultra-rare factory special order 2 1⁄2 inch “Bicycle” barrel has the correct two- line S&W legend on top of the rib and is numbered to the gun. The barrel latch and cylinder are also numbered to the gun. The cylinder is plated in gold. The barrel and frame are plated in silver. The revolver wears gold S&W medallion pearl grips. The M. Hartley Co. marked retailer case is lined in suede and contains a cartridge block and a bore brush. The inside of the lid bears the M. Hartley Co. retailer silk ribbon banner.

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