Nice early example of the S&W Model No. 1 -1/2 SA pocket revolver in .32 Caliber. Complete with original Factory box with instructions inside the lid. 3 1/2" barrel. 5 shot cylinder. Nickel Finish and hard rubber grips. We find a couple DA's every year still in the box but the SA's are a bit tougher to locate unless you're willing to spend quite a bit of money. We see these at shows from time to time priced from 1100-1300 dollars. We're going to leave some room to grow on this one provided we can move it quickly. Nice antique S&W's and Colts in their original boxes make great investments!
History: Total production on this model was 97,570 from 1877-1892. This one is in the 17,000 range and probably dates to the late 1870's. Like its big brothers, the "American Model", "Russian", "Baby Russian", and the Schofield, this new .32 Caliber 1 1/2 SA marked a new era for S&W with the "tip-down" barrel design. It departed from their original tip-up barrel/frame design where the cylinder had to be removed for reloading. Instead, Smith and Wesson changed the pivot point for the barrel from the top of the frame to the bottom while relocating the barrel latch to the rear of the frame. The barrel now tipped downwards and carried the cylinder along with it on the axis pin. This made reloading much easier while providing a stronger lock-up. Best of all, S&W harnessed the energy from the downward motion of the barrel by placing concentric star-shaped ejectors inside the cylinder that automatically kicked out the spent shell casings. Modern revolvers with swing-out cylinders can't take advantage of this motion to eject automatically, yet S&W accomplished this back in the 1870's. By the 1880's though, the single action mode was becoming out-dated and this model was eventually phased out by 1892 in favor of the double action pocket revolvers. Note: Given the uncertainty 1870's era metallurgy and structural design, we do not recommend these ever being fired, especially with modern smokeless ammunition.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Excellent with 97% original nickel overall showing some light handling and scratches. Only noticeable losses to the nickel are isolated to a few spots on the cylinder along with a few scratches which are typical. These occur when the latch is not fully lifted while the cylinder is spun off its axis pin for cleaning. Otherwise, its just about perfect. Hammer has fantastic rich case colors. Latch and trigger have all of their original blue. Screws and pins are perfect and appear to be unturned. Excellent checkered hard rubber grips with the early S&W style logo. No chips or cracks. Action works nicely including the ejectors. Bore has strong deep rifling with some scattered pits. Still, very decent.
The original factory Red Box is pretty scarce in good condition overall. The edges are a little frayed and the inside section is a yellowed but the partition is still intact. Remember though, this is a 130 year old cardboard box and EVERYTHING IS THERE! Nothing is missing. We've seen much nicer boxes with broken partitions or lost altogether...this one has somehow survived. Instruction inside the lid are all there and legible. A nice example of an early S&W revolver.