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 LOT 3170
Exceptional Special Order
Copper Finished Smith & Wesson
New Model No. 3 Single Action
Target Revolver with Factory
Letter - Serial no. 31835, 44 S&W
Russian cal., 6 1/2 inch solid rib
bbl., copper finish, walnut grips.
This is a highly unusual, extremely
rare S&W New Model No. 3 revolver
with special order copper finish. As
stated in the factory letter, this New
Model No. 3 was a “special order
variation” chambered in .44 S&W
Russian when shipped on February 6, 1904 and delivered to E.K. Tryon Co. of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania (all frames of this model were finished prior to 1899, making the revolver antique).
In the factory letter S&W historian Roy Jinks provided additional information: “This shipment was
for a consecutive pair of revolvers with the second revolver bearing serial 31836. They were a special
order and there is no information available on the pair.” Due to the lack of both the original invoice and/or other additional information referred to by Mr. Jinks, the target sights and copper finish, while not listed in the factory letter, are most certainly factory original. The revolver is fitted with Lyman blade front and “U” notch rear rear sights. The left side of the barrel is marked “44 S&W CTG.” The caliber designation is a rarely seen marking on this model. The solid rib
has the one-line S&W address marking. The unnumbered grips are nicely figured checkered walnut and feature gold S&W medallions. Matching serial numbers appear on the butt, cylinder, barrel, and barrel latch.
The revolver was discovered in eastern Pennsylvania circa January/February 2016 and was said to have belonged to Abraham Lincoln Artman Himmelwright (1865-1936), also known by the literary name A.L.A. Himmelwright, who was
a civil engineer, author, adventurer, and marksman living in the Philadelphia area. From 1904-1906, he served as the president of the U.S. Revolver Association and won the Association’s first national revolver shooting championship match in 1900. He was a prolific writer, authoring numerous books and articles. The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and subsequent fire caused a public outcry for improved city planning, and Himmelwright was at the forefront of exploring new building materials and methods. Many of his publications focused on the danger of fire and the construction of fireproof dwellings. Among his most popular books were those on pistol shooting technique that remained in print into the early 1940s. In his book “Pistol & Revolver Shooting” (1920), Himmelwright laid out the best and worst types of finishes for firearms used in target shooting. He wrote, “If an arm is wanted for steady use, select the plain blue finish, and wood handles; elaborate engraving and gold, silver, copper, or nickel finished arms are handsome and pleasing, but, if much used, become burnt and discolored where the powder gases escape, and soon become unsightly” (124). Himmelwright seems to be writing from experience. Famed marksman Walter Winans may have given Himmelwright the idea for a copper finished New Model No. 3. In his book “The Art of Revolver Shooting” (1901) Winans explained, “I have my revolvers gold-, silver-, or copper-plated all over, not for show, but to prevent, if I leaving my revolver inadvertently on the firing- ledge in a competition, a man using it, and saying; ‘So sorry; thought it was mine, don’t you know.’ By having the colour
of the plating varied, you know at a glance if you have the right revolver for the particular work in hand: ‘gold’ for twenty yards; ‘copper’ for rapid firing; ‘silver’ for fifty yards, etc” (20-21).
CONDITION: Excellent, retaining 97% plus original copper finish with attractive age darkened appearance on the grip straps. A nine digit number has hand marked on the frame under the cylinder. The grips are also excellent with some minor handling marks and crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. The copper finish and walnut grips make for a strikingly handsome sidearm fit for a champion target shooter. Add its rarity and this New Model No. 3 is worthy of the most advanced collections.
Provenance: Smith & Wesson Collectors Association’s Annual Meeting in Baton Rouge, LA, in June 2016:
Property of a Gentleman.
  104 Estimate: 7,500 - 10,000

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