This is a 4th Model S&W Double Action Revolver in .32 Caliber. Antique Serial number is in the 96,000 range. All matching numbers including grips. 1880's production. The gun is in Near Mint original condition with its original factory box. Standard 3" barrel with nickel finish and checkered hard rubber grips. What makes this gun so unique is its nickel plated trigger guard. This is the only one we've ever seen with this feature and its factory original.
As a basic rule of thumb, all the nickel plated S&W DA's we've seen have blued barrel latches, ejector springs, and trigger guards. Hammers and triggers were usually case color hardened. That's the norm...and while this one has the blued latch and spring, with case colored trigger and hammer, the trigger guard is factory nickel plated. Normally, when these (blued) components are found nickel plated, alarms bells should go off in your cerebral S&W database that what you're looking at is most of the time going to be a non-factory Re-nickel job. Platers and Gunsmiths would just dip the entire gun in their nickel baths...usually after they buffed off all the corners and edges...in the interest of saving themselves time. Obviously, that isn't the case here. Then, there is the possibility of a Factory Re-nickel which doesn't fit either. For starters, this gun is almost mint in the box but just to be sure we checked the butt and the inside of the straps and found no star...S&W's symbol indicating it went back for a rebuild. Even then, a factory Re-finish is going to show at least some signs of wear to edges and markings underneath the finish. The guard, like the rest of the gun, has perfect edges and factory polish underneath the finish. From there we asked, could this be a later factory replacement part? However, even with NOS parts going onto a nice gun, there will be some variation...in light wear and even color of the finish. That doesn't fit either....the age and the color is the same. Our conclusion was this nickel guard is unquestionably S&W factory work and original to the gun. The finish on the guard is a perfect match to the rest of the gun and the pins holding it in place show no signs of having ever been disturbed. This would have either been a special order item or from a small batch S&W produced.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Excellent Plus with 98% original nickel remaining on the barrel, frame, cylinder, and the aforementioned trigger guard. No flaking or bubbling to the finish, just a few specks of patina...otherwise, the nickel is perfect. Trigger and hammer have nice original bright case colors with no fading...90% overall....only wear to colors is where they've silvered out on the face of the trigger and top of hammer where your fingers would touch. Hard rubber grips are in Excellent plus condition with perfect fit to metal. No chips, cracks, or repairs. Bottom of grip still has its tiny S&W 1878 patent date which is still legible. Mechanics are perfect in both single and double action. When the barrel is raised, the cartridge ejector still springs with the enthusiasm of a cat pouncing on your shoe lace! Bore is Very Good...with strong rifling...still bright but shows some light pitting here and there. Barrel has patent dates ranging from 1865 to 1882. 4th Model DA's in .32 Caliber were produced from 1883-1909 with serial numbers between 43,000 and 289,000. Those under approx. 209,000 are pre-1898 antiques. Given its serial number is in the 96,000 range and the lack of an 1889 patent date on the barrel, our rough guess is it was produced sometime between 1886-1888.
Original Smith and Wesson box is correct and original to this exact gun. The orange label on the side correctly notes the contents in the box are for S&W Double Action Revolver in 32 Caliber with a 3" barrel and nickel finish. Serial number is penciled in on the bottom of the box. Box is in Good condition with some fraying along the edges. Still very solid with nice legible directions inside the lid.
A rare chance to own an Antique S&W DA with an original nickel trigger guard that's still in the box! This would make a great addition to any advanced S&W collection or the center-piece of a smaller assemblage of early antique DA's.