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Old 03-13-2018, 02:05 PM
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Default Bought Another One For The Grips

Went to Classic in Macon today. Hadn't been there in nearly a year. They were about to check the obits to see where I was. Of course, he had a huge old Smith & Wesson inventory, including a single shot target 22 that I got to drool over. As usual for me, I asked to see the junky Smiths. He starts pulling out guns and putting them on the counter. This is what you get when you go to a gun store that doesn't do much with Gun Broker. . .a really great LGS! He knows I love the old 32's, but said they have sort of vanished over the past year. This one hits the counter and I grab it. Dirty and heavily oxidized, but look at those perfect MOP grips. . .they are perfect! I didn't really look at the gun. Actually didn't even want it. He let me have it for $175. People are really missing the boat on these old top breaks. They are drying up. Turns out it's an unmessed with gun. Look at those perfect screws. No pitting around the forcing cone. Very good plus bore and cylinder. Perfect mechanically. A lot of the original nickel present although it is thinning in many places, but there is no peeling. The grips are fitted perfectly. Made in 1904-1905 when Smith wasn't using medallions on their grips. I think the MOP grips are factory, but who knows. They have aged with the gun. I was going to use the grips on another top break, but decided to leave them with this gun they came on. It looks a lot like Teddy Roosevelt's old 38 bought around the same time.
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Old 03-13-2018, 02:24 PM
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Very nice find! I keep my top breaks out on my coffee table for decoration - that one would be perfect there!
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Old 03-13-2018, 02:39 PM
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Dr. B. will you stop telling all these people closely held secrets.
Now the price goes up and Im back to buying Commemorative Plates.
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:26 PM
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Very nice revolver, but my bet is that the pearl stocks are not original. As I understand it, there was never a time in the early Twentieth Century when S&W would have used non-medallion pearl stocks. Starting in 1893, medallion pearl stocks became standard, which was carried on until at least WWII. Only walnut service stocks from 1900 to 1910 went without medallions. Distributors and retail stores would often fit their own non-medallion pearl stocks on revolvers, especially nickel Safeties, for sale.

I have a pre-1910 M&P box and the bottom has a photo and description of the factory pearl stocks clearly showing the medallion.

If you have evidence otherwise, please post.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:18 PM
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You may be right. Teddy Roosevelt's gun does have the medallions. Maybe someday we will find a 140 year old man who worked for Smith during this period to verify that non-medallion pearls were never used by the factory. I don't think I will ever be absolutely convinced, but, again, you are probably right.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:21 PM
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I like this more than the "Like" button will allow, so I had to comment here in the thread!
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Old 03-14-2018, 06:24 AM
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Nice find! Guess I'm going to have to mosey over to Macon and check out the inventory. What did they want for the .22 Target?
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:25 AM
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Man it ain't fair Georgia gets all the good stuff,great find it's getting to the point here most of he local shops are running the prices up especially on older Smiths.
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:36 AM
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The Target was $2500. Too much for me to even make an offer.
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:58 AM
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The Target was $2500. Too much for me to even make an offer.
Yeah. I hear you.
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Old 03-14-2018, 08:12 AM
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I've been trying to find a gun like that for the stocks. I've got my engraved .38 Safety Hammerless that I want to replace the non-period stocks with a set of period correct ones, but can't seem to find stocks by themselves or a gun that I can get a good price on. Everything on the auction sites goes way up, and many times before the live bidding ever starts. GREAT find!

Later!

Simi
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocB View Post
You may be right. Teddy Roosevelt's gun does have the medallions. Maybe someday we will find a 140 year old man who worked for Smith during this period to verify that non-medallion pearls were never used by the factory. I don't think I will ever be absolutely convinced, but, again, you are probably right.
DocB
I hope this can convince you. This is page 7 from the Smith & Wesson catalog dated 1899. Smith & Wesson fought against inferior pearl stocks for many years, resulting in placing warning labels in boxes and in their catalogs.
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Old 03-16-2018, 12:25 PM
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According to the new edition of "the book" medallions on pearl stopped in or around 1920, making another MOP Smith I have (made around 1925) questionable too. I am never convinced about anything Smith may or may not have done.
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Old 03-16-2018, 01:47 PM
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One last try.

I have 1903 and 1912 catalogs that show pearl stocks and all images show medallions. Pics below.

Frankly, I cannot find any mention of pearl stocks made by S&W in the early 1920s in catalogs. Even the price lists associated with 1920s S&Ws do not list pearl stocks as an option. The 1923 catalog states the 32 Safety with hard rubber stocks only and the 38 Safety with checked walnut only. By 1925, pearl stocks were listed as optional for the 32 & 38 Safety revolver.

I have 1931 and 1936 catalogs and price lists showing pearl stock options for 32 & 38 Safety revolvers @ $4.95 per pair. I have also seen a few lettered medallion pearl stocked guns made in the 1930s.

It has been said that non-factory pearls were always thinner than factory pearls and that factory pearl stocks were the same thickness as factory hard rubber stocks. In the 38 S&W Safety, that would mean that factory pearl stocks would have to be around .370" thick, same as hard rubber. Have several sets of non-medallion pearls I have taken off 38 DAs & Safety revolvers over the years that measure .30" I also have a set of non-medallion pearls that letter to a gun from the early 1890s and they measure .360". The medallion was not introduced until the 1893 World Exposition in Chicago, so all pearls from an earlier time did not have a medallion, but were thick, not thin.
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Old 03-16-2018, 01:50 PM
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Who in their right mind would by a gun just because they have a set of grips that need a home? I’ve never heard of such silliness.
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Old 03-16-2018, 02:34 PM
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Who in their right mind would by a gun just because they have a set of grips that need a home? Iíve never heard of such silliness.
That's just what I did with my pre-war magnas. I put a registered magnum with them. And yes, I'm nuts!

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Old 04-15-2018, 01:59 PM
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I just found myself in a similar situation, although my MOP grips have medallions and my nickel finish is much worse for wear. Good find.
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:49 PM
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One must also remember that stocks were a stand alone purchasable item from S&W. I have blister packs of stocks from the 70's that are intact and have never been on a gun. Who is to say if they will stay that way for the next 100 years.

Folks do it today so I am sure that gun enthusiasts 100 years ago did the same thing. Guns with pearls could have gotten damaged and a gunsmith removed them and sold them to someone.

Unfortunately as I have said before, sometimes we just don't know what we don't know......
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
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Who in their right mind would by a gun just because they have a set of grips that need a home? Iíve never heard of such silliness.
There must be a lot of guys doing it even now. That's why there
is so many S&Ws wearing Pachmeyer rubbers all of a sudden. It's
not because it's raining out side.
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:45 PM
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Who in their right mind would by a gun just because they have a set of grips that need a home? Iíve never heard of such silliness.
I recently bought a 686ND that came with an extra set of grips..K frame SB Combats.. made for a nice package deal.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:44 PM
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Wise decision to leave the pearl stocks on that fine revolver. I hope you'll shoot it, and then tell us about it.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:37 AM
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Let me gum up the works a bit.

First, let me remind SWCA members that the data that Roy Jinks shares with us is PRIVILEGED, and is NOT to be broadly disseminated without prior permission.
I asked Roy for permission, and it was granted.
SWCA members can verify that here-
Pearl Grip Question- Your Permission Sought

See the post below that Roy Jinks made on the old SWCA Yahoo forum in 2006.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:10 PM
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That is good information that I didn't have. So, non-monogram MOP grips were installed on Smiths at the factory before being shipped to the distributor and/or final customer. That explains the perfect fit of these grips as well as the perfect aging of the grips to the revolver as if they had been on since the day it was born. Like I always say, until you can find somebody still living who actually did it, you will never know what Smith & Wesson did.
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