I have come into posession of a S&W model 1-1/2 due to the passing of a good friend. His wife wanted me to have it. It is engraved and blued and has pearl grips. The S/N is 685XX and is a 5 shot, 32 caliber with 3-1/2" barrel.
I cannot find any information about an engraved model with pearl grips and blued finish. Everything I have found engraved and with pearl grips has a nickle finish.
Is there any way to confirm the authenticity of this revolver? Also, are there any tell tale signs that would identify who engraved it?
The pistol is in great shape with a nice patina and an excellent bore. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you for your time, cooperation and expertise.
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September 30, 2012, 12:15 PM
You can find out just about everything you want to know, but it will cost you $50.00 to pay for the research, and what you get will likely be worth it.
I have examined .32 model 1 1/2 revolvers that were blued and had both ivory and pearl stocks, with pearl being prefered at the time. The greater question is who did the engraving and provided the stocks. Smith & Wesson would sell revolvers "in the white," or unfinished to certain distributors or engravers. They would do the engraving and then return the gun to S&W to have it blued or plated. On the other hand the company would have revolvers engraved for direct sales to both individuals and dealers or distributors.
The only way to be sure is to obtain what is called a "historical letter." For the fee they will find your particular gun in the original shipping records. If it let the factory with special features (engraving, pearl stocks, etc) it should have been noted. If not then the work was done elsewhere, most likely by a distributor, but the name of the distributor and exact date the revolver was shipped will hopefully be found in the information S&W will send you.
Information concerning historical letters of authentication from Smith & Wesson’s historian, Roy G. Jinks can be obtained from the link listed below.
In exchange for a $50.00 research fee (make any check out to Smith & Wesson, not Mr. Jinks) he will search through the company’s original records until he finds your particular revolver. He will then send you an official letter which usually includes:
A short history of the revolver model’s background.
What the barrel length, caliber/cartridge, finish and stocks were, as well as the exact date it was shipped from the factory – and to what distributor, dealer or individual – as whatever the case may be.