This is a nice untouched attic find. It's an early S&W Model 1-1/2, 2nd Issue Tip Up Revolver in .32 caliber. Standard 3-1/2" barrel, five-shot cylinder, with nickel plated finish and a beautiful pair of dark rosewood grips. This model was manufactured from 1868 to 1875 and was the last of the original spur trigger tip-up Smith and Wesson design that dated back to Model One in 1857; the world's first cartridge revolver. Serial numbers for the second issue start as 26,000 where production of the 1st Issue ends and run all the way to roughly 125,000. This particular example is in the 41,000 range which dates it to around 1869.
The Model 1-1/2 was essentially a downsized pocket version of the No. 2 Army in .32 rimfire. Originally introduced in 1865, the first issue of the Model 1-1/2 was closely styled after the Model 2 with a more traditional solid round cylinder, saw handle grips, and a chunky slab-sided octagon barrel. The standard finish was blued. See link:
If the 1st was all business, the 2nd issue had quite a bit more personality. Smith and Wesson really did a nice job of sculpting the 2nd Issue into a much more appealing revolver...if such a thing can be said. It's a 1st Issue that went on a diet and this time, they really got it right. The result was that sales QUADRUPLED. The 2nd Issue now had a round barrel with a re-contoured lug. The cylinder was now fluted and the grips were now rounded in a birds head. The mechanics were still the same but in terms of overall aesthetics, the once clunky Model 1-1/2 turned out to be one of S&W's most elegant models. The other new aspect to the 2nd Issue was that it was now offered with a nickel plated finish which was a brand new process in the United States that didn't see commercial application until around 1868...the same year the 2nd Issue came out. Prior to this, almost all plating found on guns was silver which was soft and quickly tarnished. Nickel, however, was much more durable, more resistant to oxidation, and much cheaper in cost.
Overall Condition grades to NRA Antique Exellent with 92% original nickel which is untouched and has taken on a pleasing slightly dull patina. With a few minutes of rubbing with a soft cloth, it will polish back up to bright which is what sells the fastest. However, I know some of you guys have an appreciation for this look so I'm going to leave it alone for a few months and see what happens. It has great markings and sharp edges. The case colors on the hammer have darkened with age but there is still mottled colors underneath. The grips are fantastic with perfect fit to the strap and 80% original piano varnish remaining. No chips or cracks. The bore is incredible...bright and shiny with sharp lands and groove. It's so nice you can see the factory machining in the grooves of the rifling. The mechanics are equally nice and crisp. Very nice example of the Model 1-1/2, 2nd Issue.