Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Smith and Wesson .38 Caliber Safety Third Model Double-Action Revolver, serial no. 83097, with Case

Smith & Wesson (American, established 1852)
Tiffany & Co. (1837–present)
ca. 1890–93
Springfield, Massachusetts; New York, New York
American, Springfield, Massachusetts and New York
Steel, silver, enamel, wood, leather, copper alloy, gold
Revolver (a); L. 9 1/16 in. (23 cm); L. of barrel 4 in. (10.2 cm); Cal. .38 in. (9.7 mm); Wt. 1 lb. 6 oz. (628 g); case (b); H. 2 1/16 in. (5.2 cm); W. 10 5/8 in. (27 cm); D. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); Wt. 1 lb. 8.7 oz. (700.2 g)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Bequest, 2013
Accession Number:
2013.903a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 372
This is one of nine revolvers custom-decorated by Tiffany & Co. for display at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Exhibited as an example of Tiffany's most innovative designs and techniques, it is singular in having a grip sheathed in embossed, chased, etched, and enameled sterling silver. The enamel work on the grip, which is distinguished by subtle, sophisticated tonal gradations, is among the finest ever produced by the firm. Three years earlier, the American commissioners at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889 had noted the novelty of the "artistic blending of colors in the articles of enameled silver" shown by Tiffany's. No other Tiffany-decorated revolvers in this technique are known.
Inscription: Inscribed on the pommel: Joseph / T / Torrence / Chicago / Ills.

Marking: Stamped on the top of the barrel: SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS. U.S.A. PAT’D FEB. 20 DEC. 16. 77 / MAY 11. 80. SEP. 11. OCT. 2. 83. 2. AUG. 4. 85 FEB 14. 86. APR 9. 89 JUN. 3. 90; on the grip, cylinder, and top strips, the serial number: 83097 (concealed by the silver cover); underneath the cylinder extractor when pushed: 2; on the bottom strap of the cylinder: O; and: P; on the underside of the grip: TIFFANY & CO. / STERLING; and: a globe over the letter T (the mark Tiffany’s used on objects exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893); and scratched with the number: 210.
General Joseph T. Torrence, Chicago (until d. 1896); [Arnold M. Chernoff, Deerfield, Ill.; before d. 1985; said to have been purchased at a gun show in Pottstown, Pa.; sold for $4,500 to Vaule]; [Eric Vaule, Bridgewater, Conn.; probably before 1985; sold for $14,500 to Pelock]; [Duane Pelock, Bellflower, Calif., before 1990; sold for $34,500 to Klaz]; Dr. Gerald Klaz, Culver City, Calif. (by 1990–2013; sold to MMA).
Tiffany & Co. Catalogue of Tiffany & Co's Exhibit: Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. New York: Tiffany & Co., 1893. p. 50, no. 210.

Boorman Dean K. The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms. London: Salamander Books, 2002. p. 33, ill.

Blades, John M., and John Loring. Tiffany at the World's Columbian Exposition. Palm Beach, Fla.: Flagler Museum, 2006. pp. 54, 130, ill.

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