First Model Smith and Wesson .38 Single Action Revolver, also known as the "Baby Russian". A total of approx. 25,000 First Models were produced from 1876 to 1877. This one is in the 6,600 range with nickel plated finish, early style checkered hard rubber grips with the plain S&W logo, and the less common 4-1/2" barrel. Barrel address has numerous patent dates which run from 1865-1875. We bought two of these from the same family and both appear to have had some type of engraving or inscription rubbed out along their backstraps (see photo). I've read that a few of these Baby Russians were issued to the Baltimore Police so possibly this was some type of property marking that was later removed after it was sold off as surplus.
Overall condition grades to NRA Antique Excellent with 98% original nickel on the frame, 97% on the frame with a couple of minor spots of light pinprick corrosion on the right side. Cylinder retains 85% original nickels and 70% on the gripstraps...would be 99% except for the aforementioned area on the backstrap where some type of marking was expunged. The hammer has 80% original case colors remaining which have toned down slightly with age. Trigger appears to retain nearly all of its original finish. Even the latch, and ejector spring and coil retain most of their original blued finish. Checkered hard rubber grips are in Fine+ to Excellent Condition with perfect fit to the metal and nice checkering. Zero chips, cracks, or repairs. Action is in good order. Barrel locks up fairly tight to the frame with a hint of play. Very Good bore. Nice example of an early Baby Russian Revolver.