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Old 03-23-2018, 02:44 PM
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Default Model 1 - 3 Confused on dating

Hello eveyone,

I really need your help on dating this gun! I do not have any of the S&W books or Roy's bible anymore and I have looked on the internet and on this forum, but I must say that the dating on these early models is all over the board and very confusing. I have seen on this forum for example that the serial# 131439 was stated as "most likely" not long after 1881 but then in another post the serial # 114755 was manufactured in 1867, and another post with "My 3rd Issue # is 48122 and it shipped Mar, 1871". Even the date when the gun was first produced is confusing, because I find the date 1868 (wikipedia for one) and then 1865 on the forum.

It would really be great if we had a Sticky on these and dating them for those of us that do not have these books.

As another forum member posted a while back, he was in the Netherlands and needed it for legal reasons for ownership in Holland. Basically I need the same info for the same reasons, to know for sure if this gun was produced prior to 1 Jan. 1869, or could a court prove that this gun was manufactured after that date?

So I am really confused, and could really use the forums expert help. I have read that the factory records for these early models were almost nonexistent, is that also true?

I hope I got the info correct that you guys need for dating. I also have attached photos.

Here is the Info:
1. S&W Model 1 3rd issue
2. Tip-Up SA Revolver
3. S# 57176
4. Mfg marks: appears to be a X9 on frame Grip, Frame Barrel and Cylinder
5. 22 short, 7 shot fluted cylinder
6. Spur trigger
7. Bird's head wooden grip with matching SN on RH grip
8. Etched on Barrel: Smith & Wesson Springfield, Mass. Pat Apr 9. 55, July 5.59 Dec 18.60
Attached Thumbnails
Model 1 - 3 Confused on dating-gun1-jpg   Model 1 - 3 Confused on dating-gun2-jpg   Model 1 - 3 Confused on dating-gun9-jpg   Model 1 - 3 Confused on dating-gun10-jpg   Model 1 - 3 Confused on dating-gun12-jpg  

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Old 03-23-2018, 06:28 PM
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The 3rd did not come out till 1868, and they were numbered in their own series. So the likelihood of S# 57176 shipping before Jan 1, 1869 is not good.
The experts will be along shortly.
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Old 03-23-2018, 06:31 PM
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Thank you lee, appreciate it.
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Old 03-23-2018, 09:37 PM
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Oeps did ask almost the same question.
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Old 03-24-2018, 01:18 AM
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judogrulz, Send for a factory historical letter. It will tell you the day the gun was shipped, to where and the configuration when of the gun when it was shipped. Cost is $75 US. The letter will be proof positive as to when it left the factory, however there are no records showing when the gun was made, except it would obviously be before it was shipped. There's a link on the Forum and on the Smith & Wesson Co. website for the application form for a factory letter. Ed.
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Old 03-24-2018, 06:02 AM
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Here is the link that Ed mentioned:

http://www.swhistoricalfoundation.co...quest_form.pdf

Regarding manufacturing and shipping (sales) dates, there is often no correlation or predicting with any accuracy between the two. A very low SN 'probably' shipped early in a production run, a late one at or after the run ended, but it is all wild guesses in between.
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Old 03-24-2018, 06:27 AM
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Ok, thank you for the info. Yes, I have seen that but thought maybe I could get some quicker info as I am in Germany and this will take weeks if not longer to get done.

I really appreciate all the input guys!
Jeff
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:01 AM
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Welcome! The actual ship date cannot be determined without a letter. The Smith & Wesson Collector's Association Database has sparse information on shipping dates close to your serial number. Besides, the factory carried an inventory and did not ship in serial number order, so the back of the bin could have held out of sequence guns for some time. It would be fair to estimate a ship date somewhere around 1870 to 1872, but that is a guess at best.

The factory letter will give you lots more information about that very nice Model 1 you have. If you are interested in the date for government accounting reasons, it should be old enough to satisfy any country's antique cut-off date, but the purchase and/or sale of antiques guns in many countries can not occur without official documented information. I believe that letters add value down the road when it comes time to sell and become an important part of the gun's history to be passed down for possibility generations to come.
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Old 03-24-2018, 03:12 PM
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Thank you Gary. Great info!
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Old 03-24-2018, 08:41 PM
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I have the same gun with serial number 96xx, and it was shipped from the factory on November 9, 1868. I'm guessing that a serial number in the 57,000's would have been shipped sometime in the mid 1870's.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdogrulz View Post
. . . I have seen on this forum for example that the serial# 131439 was stated as "most likely" not long after 1881 but then in another post the serial # 114755 was manufactured in 1867, and another post with "My 3rd Issue # is 48122 and it shipped Mar, 1871".
I am not sure how one can extrapolate a date from 96xx to 57,000 gap and come up with any information that is a valid observation. Many of those ship dates in the OPs original post may have been guessed at using a similar basis. They do not help and only cause more confusion.

Again, only the letter will show the accurate date and any other method is a guess at best. What I can show is documented ship dates from the SWCA database and members can make their own educated guess. These are the only ones in the general serial number range as the OPs that have a documented ship date.

33XXX . . . 1870
75XXX . . . 1872
80XXX . . . 1872
82XXX . . . 1872
90XXX . . . 1872
104XXX . . 1873
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by glowe View Post
I am not sure how one can extrapolate a date from 96xx to 57,000 gap and come up with any information that is a valid observation.
Sorry Gary, I was citing my 96xx serial numbered 1-3 in reference to the question about a gun with serial number 57xxx being made prior to Jan. 1, 1869.

In guessing that 57,xxx was made sometime in the mid 1870's, I was going on the knowledge that the 1-3 was made between 1868 and 1882 (it may have dragged a bit into 1883, but that's another topic for another day). With approximately 130,000 examples produced, that would put 57xxx near the middle of the production run.

The production run wasn't uniform and consistent, though, which is why I kept my guess vague.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:28 PM
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The Model 1 was still popular post-Civil War, but by the early 1870s sales dropped off rapidly. An example is #124XXX, shipped in 1877. The first six years of sales topped the 100,000 mark, but in the next six years only 25,000 were sold. It took another 5 years to sell the remaining 6,000.

Again, these figures are only estimates, but the general trends based on documented examples lead to some fairly solid conclusions about this littl S&W's history.
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Old 03-25-2018, 04:50 PM
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I would really like to say thank you again to everyone for the warm welcome, and all of this really great info coming in. I am learning a lot here. 30+ Years in weapons and I am sorry to say that I really never had to think about this model so deep before and never had to ask these questions before. But it is the history that makes all of this so cool and why I got into antiques in the first place as a young boy.

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The factory letter will give you lots more information about that very nice Model 1 you have.
Thanks glowe, but unfortunately it is not mine. I am trying to help someone who is trying to sell it, legally

I had to sell all my collections and my books and everything before we moved back over here, and over here it is not as easy to collect weapons as it is in the USA. I can tell you that the saying "You dont know what you have until you dont have it anymore" is VERY true.
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Old 03-25-2018, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by opoefc View Post
judogrulz, Send for a factory historical letter. It will tell you the day the gun was shipped, to where and the configuration when of the gun when it was shipped. Cost is $75 US. The letter will be proof positive as to when it left the factory, however there are no records showing when the gun was made, except it would obviously be before it was shipped. There's a link on the Forum and on the Smith & Wesson Co. website for the application form for a factory letter. Ed.
Thanks Ed, any idea how you can pay them from Europe, no checks or money orders. Dont they have a Paypal or something?
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:34 PM
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Just to answer my curiosity, why is the date of January 1, 1869 significant? Here in the states the important date is January 1, 1899 on which the ATF considers a gun to no longer be an antique. In that light, all S&W tip up revolvers are considered antiques. Since you are in Germany, I can only assume that your laws use a different date and hence your inquiry.

As others have stated, you can send for a History letter for $75 (may be higher for non US) or you could join the S&WCA for $60 (may be higher for non US) and ask Roy Jinks for the shipping date. You are only allowed 1 request per week so potentially you can get 52 shipping dates per year.

Either way they are neat guns and were the beginning of the S&W legacy.
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:46 PM
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I just sent you a PM.
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdogrulz View Post
I would really like to say thank you again to everyone for the warm welcome, and all of this really great info coming in. I am learning a lot here. 30+ Years in weapons and I am sorry to say that I really never had to think about this model so deep before and never had to ask these questions before. But it is the history that makes all of this so cool and why I got into antiques in the first place as a young boy.
A lot of people overlook the Model 1. I have a book from the 1950's called "Suicide Specials," which chronicles a lot of these small "junk" pocket guns. The Model 1 is very much included in this book, which speaks to its status as a "junk gun" when most collectors were lusting after Colts and (to a lesser degree) larger caliber Smith & Wessons. Intense interest in the Model 1 is a more modern phenomenon, and I still don't think it gets the respect that it deserves.

It's worth mentioning that the Model 1 was the gun that gave birth to modern mass-production at Smith & Wesson. The much rarer Model 1, 1st Issue guns (the first ~11,000 produced) were made on the second floor of a rented stove shop, largely by contractors and contract laborers. When the Model 1 really started to take off, Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson saved enough capital to build the Stockbridge Street factory, which was purpose-built for gun manufacturing. The labor system of "putting out" (or contracting) continued for some time, but operations were much more consolidated. This was when we also saw the rise of managers in the company -- another phenomenon that puts Smith & Wesson on the vanguard of modern business practices.

A collection of Model 1's (which would include a 1st Issue, a 2nd Issue and a 3rd Issue) is a walk through the history of American enterprise unlike any other gun from the company's history.

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Old 03-25-2018, 05:56 PM
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By the way, the legality of the Model 1 can be precarious depending on the country. I have had correspondence with Canada's RCMP (their "feds") that confirm that any variant of the Model 1 would be a prohibited weapon in Canada. It can be possessed there, in theory, but the licensing requirements are strict and lengthy.

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Old 03-25-2018, 06:46 PM
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Just to answer my curiosity, why is the date of January 1, 1869 significant? Here in the states the important date is January 1, 1899 on which the ATF considers a gun to no longer be an antique. In that light, all S&W tip up revolvers are considered antiques. Since you are in Germany, I can only assume that your laws use a different date and hence your inquiry.
Yes sure, that is the cutoff date for the Dutch Gun Laws for Revolvers. Any Revolver made after that date requires a gun license and anything prior is considered Free and can be sold freely to anyone who is 18+. In my job I have to make sure that they are Free and help people to find out if they are or not.

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Jr you could join the S&WCA for $60 (may be higher for non US) and ask Roy Jinks
That is interesting. Does that take long to get a reply from Mr. Jinks?

Thanks,
Jeff

Last edited by jdogrulz; 03-25-2018 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:49 PM
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I just sent you a PM.
Thanks Don!
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:53 PM
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By the way, the legality of the Model 1 can be precarious depending on the country. I have had correspondence with Canada's RCMP (their "feds") that confirm that any variant of the Model 1 would be a prohibited weapon in Canada. It can be possessed there, in theory, but the licensing requirements are strict and lengthy.
Boy, you can say that again!!

The Dutch laws are crazy. But I have the great pleasure of working with our consultant who is not only a very great guy, but is also a Retired Dutch police officer who was their weapons forensic expert, and has written and/or helped to write most of the Dutch weapons laws. Since I also used to be a LEO we get along great, but once in a while we tend to have our differences of opinion on a certain weapon and it's legality.

It is really great because sometimes it makes me ask questions that otherwise I would have never asked, and as you can see by this thread, it brings me into some great conversations, and with some great people. In turn it teaches me things that I never knew. It does not matter how long you do something you never know it all, and I am not shy about asking for help to learn more about something
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:47 PM
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The Dutch laws are crazy. But I have the great pleasure of working with our consultant who is not only a very great guy, but is also a Retired Dutch police officer who was their weapons forensic expert, and has written and/or helped to write most of the Dutch weapons laws. Since I also used to be a LEO we get along great, but once in a while we tend to have our differences of opinion on a certain weapon and it's legality.
If the cutoff date is 1869, then it's probably safe to say that a Model 1, 1st or 2nd Issue would be "antique", while most 3rd Issues (such as the one we're talking about) would not.

1st and 2nd issue Model 1's have the octagonal barrel.

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Old 03-27-2018, 07:00 AM
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If the cutoff date is 1869, then it's probably safe to say that a Model 1, 1st or 2nd Issue would be "antique", while most 3rd Issues (such as the one we're talking about) would not.

1st and 2nd issue Model 1's have the octagonal barrel.

Mike
Thanks Mike, yup looking that way. Bummer :-( Although I do not think a court could prove it without documentation from the factory, I also dont think it is worth poking the bear ;-)
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
That is interesting. Does that take long to get a reply from Mr. Jinks?
Once your application is approved (not sure on that time frame) you can then gain access to the S&WCA section of this great forum. Within that section is a Shipping Date Forum whereby you can place 1 request per week to Roy for a date. Unfortunately the section is limited to 5 requests to Roy per day so you must monitor the forum and be quick when an opening appears.

When you make a request, there are 0 replies since it has not been answered yet. Once there are 5 requests with 0's listed you may no longer add a request until Roy answers those 5.

This is only one of the benefits of membership in the S&WCA. The color journals that come out and the ability to attend the annual symposium (meeting) are some of the others. Most new members claim that attending an annual symposium is like nothing that they have ever experienced. Magnificent collections of S&W's sometimes never seen before and the ability to discuss your hobby with some of the greatest S&W collectors on the planet. If that is not worth .16 per day then I'm not sure what would be.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSR III View Post
Once your application is approved (not sure on that time frame) you can then gain access to the S&WCA section of this great forum. Within that section is a Shipping Date Forum whereby you can place 1 request per week to Roy for a date. Unfortunately the section is limited to 5 requests to Roy per day so you must monitor the forum and be quick when an opening appears.

When you make a request, there are 0 replies since it has not been answered yet. Once there are 5 requests with 0's listed you may no longer add a request until Roy answers those 5.

This is only one of the benefits of membership in the S&WCA. The color journals that come out and the ability to attend the annual symposium (meeting) are some of the others. Most new members claim that attending an annual symposium is like nothing that they have ever experienced. Magnificent collections of S&W's sometimes never seen before and the ability to discuss your hobby with some of the greatest S&W collectors on the planet. If that is not worth .16 per day then I'm not sure what would be.
Sounds great James! Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-31-2018, 11:48 AM
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Have another question on this guys,

Can someone tell me if there is a way to Pay the membership fees for the SWCA by other means than check or cash. I would like to join up, but dont like sending cash overseas. Maybe a paypal or something like that?

Or maybe I can send it via paypal to a member here on the forum and they could pay if for me? Then I can email the membership form directly to them right? This should cut down on acceptance time, I think?
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