Lot 108

Smith & Wesson No. 3 Revolver Rare 38-40 Caliber

Estimate: $7,500 - $10,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$25 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
Smith & Wesson New Model No.3 revolver in exceptionally rare .38-40 caliber, two digit serial number of 18. The standard caliber's for this model were .44 Russian and, to a limited degree .44-40. With only 74 produced, the .38-40 chambering was such a limited offering that Smith & Wesson considered is a separate model and serial numbered it in its own range from 1 – 74. Even most advanced Smith & Wesson collectors have never seen an actual example of this revolver. They are discussed in Smith & Wesson books, but are not pictured as examples were not available to photograph. While these revolvers were offered from 1900 – 1907, all frames were made pre-1899 and are therefore antique and can be purchased without an FFL or C&R license. This particular revolver with serisl niumber 18 is further unusual and incredibly rare because it has a factory 5” barrel! The most detailed information on this model is in the book The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, 2016, 4th edition, by Jim Supica and Richard Nahas: “New Model Number Three .38 Winchester caliber- single action revolver built on a top-break frame, 4” or 6 ½” barrel lengths, 5” also known, blue or nickel finish, black hard rubber grips on a round butt, service or target sights, round blade front sight. Because of the cartridge used, this model has a longer top-strap with a 1 9/16” cylinder. Most marked ‘38 Winchester Ctg.’ One of the rarest production models. Serial number range 1 to 74, with the 74 firearms manufactured circa 1900-1907. Value: Too Rare to price. Most speciens would probably change hands in the four – to low five figure range. A very few auction sales noted over the last five years, with two refinished examples selling at $3,700 and $4,600, and two VG to fine examples at $8,000 and $9200.” This model was an attempt to offer frontiersmen a revolver with a matching caliber to the popular lever action rifles of the period in this caliber. Of those few that survive today, most have either been refinished or are in poor condition. This revolver, has the rare 5” barrel that is original and not cut along with the correct 1 9/16” cylinder and “38 WINCHESTER CTG” on the left side of the barrel as well as the correct Smith & Wesson address and patent dates on top. The barrel, barrel latch, cylinder and frame all carry the matching serial number 18. This fine example shows fine blue in the cylinder flutes and on all the more protected areas of the frame and barrel assembly with the balance a soft blue/brown patina that appears uncleaned. Fine grips fit perfectly. Mechanically sound and with a fine bore, this exceedingly rare revolver would be the center piece of any advanced S&W collection. Antique Firearm, NO FFL.