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Old 09-16-2019, 06:46 PM
BMur BMur is offline
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Default Engraving Style

Yeah Mike,
I hear what you are saying. I read your posts thoroughly and agree with your position from an overall perspective on engraved antique guns.

I suppose folks on this forum want absolutes. I certainly can't provide any absolutes when we talk about engraved antique guns. No way. Too many variables, too many fakes, to many have been engraved "yesterday" by modern engravers.
The subject is Huge and variations are broad. All I'm trying to say is there are "clear" patterns when you study antiques in depth and do your homework. When you cross reference serial numbers (year of manufacture) with the type of engraving you are looking at. Examples that I have been very successful purchasing are:

>Early House pistols by Colt. The factory engraving is very unique to early production. Very similar to the photo posted style on the Smith's, but only seen on the frame and topstrap.

>When I first started collecting I started with Colt Lightnings, Thunderers, Rainmakers. Those also show clear patterns since they were clearly recorded by major auction houses at that time in my collecting saga that associated "Factory letters" with engraved guns. So one could learn the style compared to serial number range.

* Fakers are very good, no doubt in my mind, but they don't know the styles by timeframe at all. The best fakers focus on the high dollar stuff. I stay away from that! Winchesters? Henrys? Dragoons, 51 Navy's, etc. The early vine style with bird heads, dragoon heads,? that type of engraving is commonly faked! If you follow the auctions from years ago, keep the brochures? You will notice that Henrys/Winchesters that were sold at auction in the early 1990's without engraving? Are suddenly found "Engraved" by Gustave Young in 2019! It's a miracle!

I've also stayed away from Cap & Ball early production that lacks factory records to confirm authenticity and also because they are "often faked".

When it came to early cartridge Smiths, once I confirmed a clear pattern, serial number reference, like the photo's I posted on this thread? That pattern I have "never seen" on any other engraved gun that is NOT factory engraved. Can you mistake a recently "FAKED" gun for this type of engraving? Sure, but when you actually put the gun side by side with a confirmed factory engraved gun. It's obvious.

When I would attend the larger shows like Vegas, Tulsa, Baltimore, Reno,. Or even surfing the webs. I rely on clear photo's of my confirmed Factory engraved guns and closely compare. To me it's obvious. Only on cartridge antique guns. NEVER on cap and ball. What a messy subject that is.

To me that's as good as it gets. The factory engraved Smith's that I have did not come with letters. Only the first one that I purchased. That was the SA 38 mod 2.

I applied for the rest of them after purchasing the guns way below market at that time. I was sure that they were indeed factory engraved by the matching pattern on the SA mod 2. I guess I got lucky because so far that pattern has only shown up on Factory engraved guns.

You go with what you know Mike.... Pass on what you don't know... unless you feel lucky.... I'm not lucky... I do my homework.

Now to Patbar's engraved guns? The pattern that I am seeing is clearly New York Style. By that I mean the engraving is vine style that is circular, and "Full Coverage". Very dense engraving that follows probably the most common pattern and style out there. This style is very attractive in my opinion but also extremely difficult to comprehend or differentiate between a factory engraving or contract engraving.
So I can't really help him out except to blindly speculate.

The attached photo style is the only style in antique cartridge Smiths that My studies confirm is a Factory engraved pattern. If you look closely at the pattern it is very unique. All of my lettered Smiths have this exact pattern engraving!

Attached Thumbnails
Engraved Smith & Wesson-64e6095a-16e9-43a0-82bc-6fa9ed1a3093-jpeg  

Last edited by BMur; 09-16-2019 at 07:03 PM.
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