• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5854

    Arms & Armour

    18 June 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 147

    A FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE RUSSIAN .32 RIMFIRE SIX-SHOT REVOLVER STOCKED IN SILVER IN THE CAUCASIAN MANNER AND MODELLED ON THE SMITH & WESSON NO.2 ARMY (OLD MODEL) ACTION, BY THE TULA ARMS FACTORY

    CIRCA 1865-75

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE RUSSIAN .32 RIMFIRE SIX-SHOT REVOLVER STOCKED IN SILVER IN THE CAUCASIAN MANNER AND MODELLED ON THE SMITH & WESSON NO.2 ARMY (OLD MODEL) ACTION, BY THE TULA ARMS FACTORY
    CIRCA 1865-75
    With hinged sighted long russet barrel almost entirely encased in a silver sleeve, the latter finely chased with panels of scrolling foliage and flowerheads in the Caucasian manner, picked-out in niello, all in low relief on a contrasting gilt 'fishroe' ground, and incorporating a short false ramrod, russet iron action, knurled spur-trigger and hammer, slender iron butt fitted with silver grips extending over the sides of the action, large silver globular pommel with silver lanyard ring, and the grips and pommel en suite with the barrel sleeve
    17 5/8in (44.8cm)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    A comparable revolver built on a different Smith & Wesson action, most probably the .44 calibre Model No.3 'Old Model Russian', is reserved in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (No. 8137).

    An estimated seventy thousand standard specification Smith & Wesson Model 3 'Russian' Second Model single-action revolvers were built under contract in Russia. It is likely that the highly elaborate silver-stocked example in The Hermitage was an individual production intended as a gift to a high ranking Russian officer or official prior to the award of the contract.

    The same may be said for the present example, it being more elaborately decorated than the Hermitage example. These two would appear to be the only surviving examples stocked in this luxurious Caucasian style, almost certainly from the Tula Arms Factory.

    See Claude Blair, Pistols of the World, 1968, no.707; and Leonid Tarassuk, Antique European and American Firearms at the Hermitage Museum, 1971, no.498.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium