This is a scarce First Model S&W 38 Safety Double Action Revolver with early type "Z-Bar" barrel latch. Features are 4" barrel, nickel finish, with mother of pearl grips. Caliber is .38 S&W. There are several terms for this revolver such as the "New Departure 38 Safety", the "Safety Hammerless" and the well-known nickname it's known by; "the lemon squeezer". There were only 5,125 1st Models produced before a new design for the barrel latch was incorporated. This one is in the 3,000 serial range. All First Models were produced in the year 1887.
This particular gun is not just an example but THE TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE of the 1st Model from a well-known collection pictured on page 123 of what many collectors consider to be the Bible on S&W's, "Smith and Wesson 1857-1945" by Robert J. Neil and S&W's in-house historian, Roy G. Jinks. The gun is listed by serial number in the caption under the pictures. See photos.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Fine with 40% original nickel plating remaining overall with the metal surfaces worn to a smooth silvery gray patina. Patent dates on the barrel rib are nicely marked which run from 1877 to 1885. Barrel latches up tightly to the frame. Action is in good working order and the ejectors still function properly. Safety bar on the backstrap also engages properly. The bore has strong 5-groove rifling that's in Fine+ condition. Pearl grips are nice solid shape with no cracks, chips, or repairs. The pearl shows nice patina with some interesting pocket wear from keys and various other small objects lightly adding character wear to the surfaces. This revolver has the look of a gun that someone carried around in their pocket or coat on a daily basis for several years. A good solid example of an early 1st year production, 1st Model Safety Hammerless, that's pictured and listed by serial number in the Smith and Wesson book.