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Old 01-10-2015, 08:39 AM
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Default Nickel Baby Chief: W/Photos: New Question: Question Answered

I just found a nickel baby chief from about 1953. (Haven't finished cleaning it so no photos yet) It has the small "n" on the frame, underside of the barrel, and on the cylinder under the star. Serial number is 367XX. The finish is very good for a 62 year old gun and is cleaning up nicely. Some small blemishes and a small scratch on the frame under the cylinder (hard to see and not through the nickel). All numbers match, including the grips and appears to be all original.

I was just wondering how "scarce" they are and what a ballpark value they have. I realize photos will help and I should finish the clean/polish/wax today and hopefully I can get some photos up later this afternoon.

Any information on this gun is welcomed.

Thanks,

Bill


Photos Added: Not my best work. Will need to work on better lighting and post some more later.

I tried to highlight the imperfections. There are some small scratches and a few pits. The crane has an area of abrasion but it was hard to capture.

Comments welcomed.












Last edited by WCCPHD; 01-26-2015 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:44 AM
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Bill,

A nickel baby chief is quite scarce, I've noticed a few in the 3X000 serial number range. Value wise is tough to say without pictures but $1000 for a clean 95%++, leading towards $1500++ for mint condition.
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Old 01-10-2015, 05:53 PM
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Nice find. Any baby chief is special, but nickel is really nice.

Quote: Photos Added: Not my best work. Will need to work on better lighting and post some more later.
I tried to highlight the imperfections. There are some small scratches and a few pits. The crane has an area of abrasion but it was hard to capture.

Really. I have worked for years trying to minimize my guns imperfections.
Charlie
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Old 01-10-2015, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by crsides View Post
Nice find. Any baby chief is special, but nickel is really nice.

Quote: Photos Added: Not my best work. Will need to work on better lighting and post some more later.
I tried to highlight the imperfections. There are some small scratches and a few pits. The crane has an area of abrasion but it was hard to capture.

Really. I have worked for years trying to minimize my guns imperfections.
Charlie
Thanks Charlie,

I wanted a realistic assessment of the condition and potential value of it so I tried to show it with all its warts. Which are not too many to be 62 years old. I can't rate nickel worth a darn (ain't real good on blue).

Hope to see you at Greensboro.

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Old 01-10-2015, 06:00 PM
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Congrats, grab that freaking awesome nickel finish guns. To me nickel finish is my number one choice. Blue and stainless I can get anytime.

Last edited by BigBill; 01-10-2015 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:04 PM
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Very nice Nickel baby. Well done.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:15 PM
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Beautiful gun! Congratulations.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:33 PM
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real nice find.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:39 PM
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That's a great gun, Bill!
I'll be with Charlie in Greensboro again.
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:29 PM
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Might should have started another thread, but here goes.

I read the commentary on Chief's Specials and I am confused about the frame designation.

Is the gun I just bought, photos above, an "Improved I" frame or is it a "J" frame? It is a rounded trigger guard model with the shorter grip, but since the frame was enlarged to accommodate the 38 special, which would it be considered?
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by WCCPHD View Post
Is the gun I just bought, photos above, an "Improved I" frame or is it a "J" frame? It is a rounded trigger guard model with the shorter grip, but since the frame was enlarged to accommodate the 38 special, which would it be considered?
It is a J-Frame. The Improved I-Frame is not long enough for .38 Special.
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:21 PM
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Good looking gun in my book! Never owned any nickel gun though. Polished, I have seen many that look stunning! I have a 1957 3" 36. (blue) A square butt that I like a lot. Bob
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:32 PM
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Nice score,You still need a Factory Letter to get the big bucks out of the Gun.
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:41 PM
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Very nice Nickel Baby Chief...interesting that it has the second style flat latch compared to a blue Baby Chief that posted the other day that serials around 1000 lower but has the first style flat latch but with same steel grip medallions.

what did I buy? new-to-me snubnose
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:58 PM
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Very nice Nickel Baby Chief...interesting that it has the second style flat latch compared to a blue Baby Chief that posted the other day that serials around 1000 lower but has the first style flat latch but with same steel grip medallions.

what did I buy? new-to-me snubnose

Don't know why, I guess nothing is in stone with S&W. The grips do number to the gun. The latch was close to impossible to get off to clean so I don't believe it had ever been off or replaced, but we will never know.
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Old 01-11-2015, 04:01 PM
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Nice score,You still need a Factory Letter to get the big bucks out of the Gun.
Like almost all of my meager collection of S&W's I have no plans to ever sell it. I am curious as to why the letter would be necessary if it has the "n" on the frame, cylinder and barrel flat.
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:19 PM
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Not being an expert in these, but have seen these with all the different styles of latches in different serial number ranges, just seems like what ever latch the assembler likes, he put on there!
Bill
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:31 PM
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Like almost all of my meager collection of S&W's I have no plans to ever sell it. I am curious as to why the letter would be necessary if it has the "n" on the frame, cylinder and barrel flat.
On a Gun with rare features or a rare finish a Factory Letter will always add more than $50 in value.It proves without a shadow of a doubt that the Gun left the Factory Nickel plated.You may never sell your Guns but your Heirs may,When they see the Letter they will think "gee if the old man got this Letter it must be something special".
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:15 PM
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On a Gun with rare features or a rare finish a Factory Letter will always add more than $50 in value.It proves without a shadow of a doubt that the Gun left the Factory Nickel plated.You may never sell your Guns but your Heirs may,When they see the Letter they will think "gee if the old man got this Letter it must be something special".
Thanks, knew there had to be a reason. I need to get around to lettering my Registered Magnum that I bought 18 months ago.
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:27 PM
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Thanks, knew there had to be a reason. I need to get around to lettering my Registered Magnum that I bought 18 months ago.
And once you get that letter - get a hold of the Historic Foundation as they have a lot of information available on individual RegMags. They might have something cool to provide. They have added value to guns of mine.
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:02 PM
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Don't know why, I guess nothing is in stone with S&W. The grips do number to the gun. The latch was close to impossible to get off to clean so I don't believe it had ever been off or replaced, but we will never know.
I was not suggesting your 2nd style latch was improper, Matter O fact I was a bit surprised to see a 1st style flat latch on the blue 53 but have heard that new stock was dumped on top of old stock vats so theoretically an assembler could hit "Veins" of older style latches when latch supply dwindled down to he bottom of the supply bin.
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:12 AM
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The USUAL S/N RANGE FOR NICKEL Baby Js is the 36,XXX-37,XXX range.
37744 ….shipped Oct '53, is also nickel. No data on the latch style. Yours probably shipped within the preceding month.

38217……is the earliest in my data base with a 2nd style flat latch like yours and is a blue gun. So my supposition is that your gun is on the cusp of the change, and a new lowest # with the 2nd style in my database.

I wonder if there's a trend that nickel guns have 2nd style flat latches in a lower serial # range than blue guns, but I'll need more data to confirm that.
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:24 AM
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Bill you dog.....that is a nice one. You got a pocket mirror ! Be sure to bring it to Greensboro and stop by so I can put some finger prints on that one. (I'll be sure to wipe them off)

Nice catch
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
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The USUAL S/N RANGE FOR NICKEL Baby Js is the 36,XXX-37,XXX range.
37744 ….shipped Oct '53, is also nickel. No data on the latch style. Yours probably shipped within the preceding month.

38217……is the earliest in my data base with a 2nd style flat latch like yours and is a blue gun. So my supposition is that your gun is on the cusp of the change, and a new lowest # with the 2nd style in my database.

I wonder if there's a trend that nickel guns have 2nd style flat latches in a lower serial # range than blue guns, but I'll need more data to confirm that.
Serial 38217 shipped February 1954...Dang !.. nudged off the list as lowest 2nd style flat latch !
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:46 PM
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Bill you dog.....that is a nice one. You got a pocket mirror ! Be sure to bring it to Greensboro and stop by so I can put some finger prints on that one. (I'll be sure to wipe them off)

Nice catch
If you bring your polishing cloth I'll bring it. I would appreciate it if you and JCNC and some others would help me in rating it. I am not adept at putting a numerical value on a nickel gun.

Bill
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:51 PM
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I was curious as to the value of my Baby J, and I got a partial answer tonight on an auction for a similar gun.

Smith Wesson Pre Mod 36 Nickel 5-screw NO RESERVE : Revolvers at GunBroker.com

Comparing the two I think mine may be in a little better condition as far as the nickel is concerned but the one that sold had better grips.

I realize that this gun was sold by an extremely reputable seller with incredible photos and his guns usually sell high, but I assume that mine should be valued similarly.

Comments welcomed.

Bill
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Old 01-26-2015, 10:10 PM
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I was bidding on that one and dropped out at around $1,275. You are correct the seller is great and his reputation speaks for itself. I know two people got into a bidding war, not sure if it was ego's, the Baby Chief itself, or a combination. To that winner they sure got a great revolver. My opinion is you would get $1,400 - 1,500. Again that's just me. In saying that you have a rare beauty that many of us drool over. Good luck in whatever you decide to do. Others will give you more opinions as well.
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Old 01-26-2015, 10:29 PM
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I was bidding on that one and dropped out at around $1,275. You are correct the seller is great and his reputation speaks for itself. I know two people got into a bidding war, not sure if it was ego's, the Baby Chief itself, or a combination. To that winner they sure got a great revolver. My opinion is you would get $1,400 - 1,500. Again that's just me. In saying that you have a rare beauty that many of us drool over. Good luck in whatever you decide to do. Others will give you more opinions as well.
Not an ego issue... just a collector with baby chief issues... I have a few babies and didn't have one in nickel. I agree, $1,500 is about the max value but I thought I would have to spend around $1,800 to get this one. I'll post a couple pics when it arrives. Now who has my box???
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Old 01-26-2015, 10:57 PM
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Not an ego issue... just a collector with baby chief issues... I have a few babies and didn't have one in nickel. I agree, $1,500 is about the max value but I thought I would have to spend around $1,800 to get this one. I'll post a couple pics when it arrives. Now who has my box???
Congratulations - it sure is a great revolver. Can't wait to see the photo's of all your baby Chief's, including the nickel. Really glad a forum member got it, that way we all get to see. It surely is a beauty that all of will drool over. Good luck on the hunt for the box.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:31 PM
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Nickel Baby Chief: W/Photos: New Question: Question Answered Nickel Baby Chief: W/Photos: New Question: Question Answered Nickel Baby Chief: W/Photos: New Question: Question Answered Nickel Baby Chief: W/Photos: New Question: Question Answered Nickel Baby Chief: W/Photos: New Question: Question Answered  
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Drool will not cause rust on nickel guns.
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