S&W SAFETY HAMMERLESS.
Q: I enjoy the "Gun Room" section of the magazine and always go to read it first.
I acquired a revolver a few years ago from a friend who was divesting herself of some of her items. She stated that her father gifted it to her for her high school graduation. I believe it to be a Smith & Wesson .32-caliber, Safety Hammerless revolver. For a revolver that is well over 100 years old, I think it is in amazing condition. It is tight and functions flawlessly. I believe it's nickel plated and has the original plastic grips. The entire gun has almost no noticeable wear. It wears serial number 95XX, which is matched on the cylinder, as well as the underside of the top strap. Under the left grip on the frame is stamped a "P" and an "R". On the underside of the right plastic grip is also scratched the matching 95XX. Written on the top of the barrel is the following: "SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS.U.S.A. PAT'D FEB.20.DEC.10.77. MAY11.80. SEP11. OCT.2.83 AUG.4.85."
Along with the gun, she gave me a box claiming it to be the original, however, I am very skeptical as it is of simple plain cardboard with no stickers or printing on it. I have shown the revolver to a number of gun shops and they all say it is in remarkable condition. Based on their comments, I would put it in at least a 95 percent condition, if not higher. I would value any additional information you may be able to share on the revolver including your comments on its condition and judgement as to its value.
Pittsford, New York
A: Glad you like "Gun Room. " I try to keep it informative, which is not difficult because of the interesting and oft-times challenging questions I receive from readers. You have a very nice-condition Safety Hammerless. (It is also called a "New Departure" or "Lemon Squeezer" because of the rear grip safety.) The low serial number indicates yours is a First Model. First Models were made from 1888 to 1902. Barrel lengths ran from 2 to 6 inches with 3 and 3 1/2 being the most common. Your gun appears to be in about 98 to 99 percent condition. As such, I'd value it around $650. The grips are hard rubber, not plastic. The Safety Hammerless was also offered in .38 S&W.
Caption: SMITH & WESSON SAFETY HAMMERLESS FIRST MODEL, .32 S&W., 98%: $650