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Old 04-14-2018, 02:40 PM
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Cool Eye Poppin' Goodness - Engraved Baby Chief

For whatever reason, I have been taken with the Chiefs Specials lately. Great pocket size and all the power of a 38 Special round.

I was lucky enough to run this beauty down a few weeks ago and finely had it out for a photo shoot. It most likely shipped in in April 1953 (there is a duplicate number on the books) and I'm hopeful and expect that it will letter as factory engraved [factory engraved confirmed by Roy in letter - see post 29]. It is not perfect, but it is very nice and I love the well-executed engraving pattern. I thought y'all might enjoy a few photos...











Thanks for letting me share,
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Old 04-14-2018, 02:45 PM
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Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!


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Old 04-14-2018, 02:50 PM
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Nice "little" revolver. Probably the work of Al Herbert who engraved for S&W for a couple of years in the early 1950s. I had a 1950 44 Target with a nickel finish that was engraved by him and shipped in 1954. It also had the flower design in the engraving pattern.

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Old 04-14-2018, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKmesa View Post
It is not perfect

Since itís not perfect it obviously is not fit for your collection. Please pack it up and ship it to me. PM with my address to follow!Eye Poppin' Goodness - Engraved Baby Chief
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:47 PM
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Beautiful, it's like a piece of fine jewelry - but functional. Congratulations.
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Old 04-14-2018, 04:08 PM
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The fact that it shows a little wear just means that somebody had it as their real gun, not just as a bauble. That’s a gun you can bet your life on and show how you value your life at the same time! Classy all the way. Thank you for sharing!

Froggie
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:52 PM
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One of the most tasteful and delightful engraved S&W's that I've seem here...

Thanks for sharing.

I have a set of those factory smooth rosewood grips that I had on a M-36-1. With a Tyler adaptor, they provide a very nice grasp on the gun and I love the looks.

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Old 04-14-2018, 06:10 PM
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Richard,
Another beautiful gun and I too really like the engraving style as it seems to fit the size and type of revolver. Dare I say that is a Lady Chief Special!?
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:32 PM
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Normally I find engraved revolvers a bit too gaudy. Not the case here, that is a level of engraving I would consider Tastefully Elegant. Quite simply, not too much, not too little, Just Perfect. I congratulate you on your excellent Taste and Judgement.
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:35 PM
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Thank you! For sharing.

It's a little beauty.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
... Probably the work of Al Herbert who engraved for S&W for a couple of years in the early 1950s. I had a 1950 44 Target with a nickel finish that was engraved by him and shipped in 1954. It also had the flower design in the engraving pattern.

Bill
Bill, thanks for your thoughts on the engraver. This gun does not look to be Jarvis engraved, and it is too early to be engraved by R. Smith, but I had not considered Al Herbert, because I don't recall seeing much of his work before. Do you still have a photo of that 1950 44 Target? If so, would you be so kind as to post it - please?

Thanks,
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:21 PM
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That's a little beauty, thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-14-2018, 10:18 PM
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Awsome, very nice.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:19 AM
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Richard,
That is beautiful. We hear a lot about floral carved holsters......well this is definitely a floral carved/engraved revolver. Do you have a vintage floral carved leather beauty to put it in? It is a terrific addition to your collection.
Larry
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:00 AM
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I keep thinking I need to add an engraved Chiefs to my accumulation. That's a perfect one.

Congratulations and thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
Nice "little" revolver. Probably the work of Al Herbert who engraved for S&W for a couple of years in the early 1950s. I had a 1950 44 Target with a nickel finish that was engraved by him and shipped in 1954. It also had the flower design in the engraving pattern.

Bill
Agreed... Most likely engraved by Alvin F. Herbert. The style of engraving and the time period are consistent with his work for Smith & Wesson. A very nice engraved Chiefís Special!
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:15 AM
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Herbert is most well known for his engraving at Colt where he spent somewhere betw 15/20yrs engraving for them in house.He also engraved outside of the factory job as a freelanse.
As an aside to that he ran a radio parts business,,kind of like a Radio Shack type biz, in Hartford in the earlier days.

He was W.Indies by birth, a Black man and probably one of few if not the first to achieve the status he did in the trade in the US.

A couple of the older gents I was blessed with knowing early in my career and who helped me along knew Mr Herbert.
They said a sip of his favorite cognac was often within reach while working even at the Colt bench.
Seems like I recall one of them telling me Alvin H was a amateur boxer also at some point in his life. I may have that fact wrong and mixed up with someone else but that's the way I recall it. Can't go back and ask any of them now.

His engraved lettering was top quality and he was often used by AAWhite Engravers Inc. to do just that on special projects and appointments for display and gifts.

His Colt time was mid 50's to around 1970.
I believe his s&W factory career was before the Colt factory time and was much shorter.

Lots of his work around on all sorts of firearms as he did a lot of freelanse work as well as the factory work.
The flower designs worked into the scroll shows up quite a lot in his work & in several different forms.

Beautiful CS,,the engraving really fits the gun.
Congrats on a fine acquisition..
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:22 AM
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Another gem added to your already outstanding collection! Fantastic pictures as well. Congrats on your find Richard!!
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:44 AM
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Smile

The best I can do is a picture of a picture taken by Paul Goodwin many years ago. Click on the photo for a much larger and better look at the engraving. This 44 was one of three shipped to Rex Firearms. This one with Class B engraving and the other two with Class C engraving. S97199 was invoiced at $140.09.

Bill

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Old 04-15-2018, 10:05 AM
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Now, you see, when I looked at it I thought "It's very handsome and I like it. But it doesn't look like factory engraving to me." Then Doc44 chimes in with the name of the artist AND another example of his work. This is why I am not an expert...and he is.

Very nice revolver. I'd carry it because I would want any violent criminal I shot with it to feel right proud that I shot him with such a fine revolver.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:25 PM
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Default A.F.Herbert engraved .357 Magnum

For an additional comparison, here is an example of a factory engraved .357 Magnum that shipped June 11, 1953. The engraving was attributed to Alvin F. Herbert by noted firearms engraving author R.L. Wilson, who personally inspected this revolver. He personally knew Mr. Herbert and was intimately familiar with his engraving style. Ditto for the engraved 44, Doc44 mentions in his post.
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:24 PM
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Folks, thanks a ton for your comments and likes! I have learned a bunch about this gun in this thread! A special shout out to Bill and Karl and I always love the engraver's insight offered by 2152hq.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
...This 44 was one of three shipped to Rex Firearms. This one with Class B engraving and the other two with Class C engraving...

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSK View Post
...The engraving was attributed to Alvin F. Herbert by noted firearms engraving author R.L. Wilson, who personally inspected this revolver...

Eye Poppin' Goodness - Engraved Baby Chief-img_3554w-jpg

Eye Poppin' Goodness - Engraved Baby Chief-img_3553w2-jpg

Thank you Bill and Karl, the resemblance between those two guns and this engraved chief is pretty convincing to me...






For fun, I photographed the little guy with a December 1955 pre-27 that was Factory engraved by Russ Smith (I have a letter from Russ confirming that he engraved it). It is one of the only early factory engraved guns in my collection that has flowers on it and the flowers on the 357 are significantly different from the flowers on the above CS. For comparison and fun:







Thanks again,
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:40 PM
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RK, if I owned that pair I would probably fondle them until they were both in the bright again.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:55 PM
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I’m not big on engraved guns but there are some absolutely gorgeous S&Ws in this thread!
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:35 PM
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Being the practical kind of person I am, I've always thought that if I were to commision an engraved gun, it would be either a CS or M&P with a two-inch barrel. Something I would actually carry on a daily basis, and of course, it would need to have an equally embellished classic style holster.

Thanks for sharing those photos guys.

Mark
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:51 PM
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Like Valmet, I've never been a great fan of engraved guns newer than the 18th century. This fine forum has made a believer of me, and this thread has some beauties.
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:22 PM
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What I like is its not overdone. There is space in between the engraving. You have some openness to allow your eyes rest prior to confronting the next engraving pattern. Simply put it is just not too crowded. It is tasteful.

Mr. RKmesa, you don't have just fine firearms, you have a lot of fine artistic firearms in my opinion.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
The fact that it shows a little wear just means that somebody had it as their real gun, not just as a bauble. ...
Froggie
Just a little clarification, when I said that it is not perfect, very few guns are and the wear that it has looks to be more "storage wear" rather than holster or use wear. I could find no signs that it had been carried or shot... It sat in a Pelson gun case for much of its life and the case cutout was just a bit too large for the gun, which allowed it to slide around a bit (I think the case is actually for a later model square butt CS). The small spots on the back of the grip frame are not noticeable with the normal eye, but show a bit of inattention to hand moisture somewhere in its life. With all of that, I would still rate the finish and condition in the 97%-98% range (maybe a bit higher or lower depending on your scale), which is well withing my range of desirable guns.
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:40 AM
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I just received the letter back from Roy confirming that the gun did in fact leave the factory in its current configuration:

"...your... revolver was... shipped from the factory on November 10, 1954 and delivered to H. H. Harris Co., Chicago, IL. The records indicate that this revolver was shipped with a 2" barrel, fixed sights, bright blue finish, Class A engraved, and smooth rosewood round butt grips..."

Great turn around time on the letter.
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:23 AM
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And again I say wow ,wow,wow to your guns and your collecting knowledge as you seem to only pick out great firearms . When I grow up I want to be like you lol. Thanks for shareing your guns with us and also while I am thanking thanks for shareing the knowledge you have acquired probabaly at great expense in money and time so freely ( as do most of the experts here ) with us .
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:47 AM
M29since14 M29since14 is offline
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That’s very nice and I agree with others who express a fondness for the rose/floral pattern. Thanks for showing us that one!
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Old 05-21-2018, 07:59 AM
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The Baby Chief has such nice lines and proportions compared to a Mod. 36.

For some reason the egg shaped trigger guard of the Chief's Special (Mod. 36) and other J frames offends my eyes.

Oh, and nice engraving too!!!

Thanks for sharing.

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