This is a scarce First Model Smith and Wesson Safety Hammerless Revolver a.k.a. "New Departure" or the "Lemonsqueezer". The design was produced from 1887 up to 1940, totaling over 250,000 units spanning five different variations/models. That said, just over 5,000 of the 1st Model were built in 1887 which featured the "Z-Bar" type barrel latch mechanism (see photos). Smith and Wesson tried a couple of different latches on the "Lemonsqueezer" before settling on the T-Bar latch which is found on all of their topbreak hammer revolvers. The Z-Bar in my opinion is by far the easiest to operate but must have been too costly to manufacture. Besides being a 1st Model, this one has another rare feature. It sports an original factory silver plated finish; an option seldom found on Smith and Wesson revolvers made after the the 1860's. Once the advent of more durable and less costly nickel plating processes became available in early 1870's, silver plating was rarely used. Whoever ordered this really loved this gun...as it appears to have been carried quite a bit in a holster. Other features include a 5" barrel and checkered hard rubber grips. Correct 1st Model patents dates on the barrel range from 1877 up through 1885. Serial number is in the 3,000 range which is also correct for the 1st model.
Overall Condition Grades to NRA Antique Fine with 93% original silver plating on the frame, 80% on the gripstraps, 75% on the barrel, and 45% on the cylinder. Trigger guard shows 60% original blue which has darkened with age. Excellent checkered hard rubber grips with the S&W logo. No chips, cracks, or repairs. Bore is in Fair condition...frosty with scattered pits but exhibits decent rifling with no rings or bulges. Very good mechanics. Safety bar on the backstrap still works as do the ejectors. Good screws and pins throughout. This one shows a lot of character and looks great with the silver option...best of all it's a 1st Model!