Smith & Wesso...
Item # 4159
Rifle & Pistol Boxes

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Winning Bid US $670050 First bid $500000
Quantity 1 # of bids 6
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Started 2019-04-26 00:00:00
Ended 2019-06-01 03:03:33

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Smith & Wesson, #3, 1st Model Scholfield, Cal. 45 S&W Scholfield Cartridge, Single Action Revolver, Mfg. 1875, SN: 1388. The legendary Jesse James was brought down while straightening a picture on the wall of his rented home in St. Joseph, Missouri, on April 3, 1882. His wife & two children were in another room at the time. James assassin, who shot him in the back of the head, was Bob Ford, a new recruit into his gang. Also in on the shooting was Bobs older brother Charley, a James gang member. It has been rumored that earlier that year, Bob Ford had arranged with the Governor of Missouri to take down Jesse in exchange for a reward & clemency. After the Fords announced to authorities they'd killed the infamous outlaw, they were convicted of murder & sentenced to hang; however, the governor quickly pardoned them. In an interview of Mrs. James by the sheriff on the day of the shooting, Mrs. James said Jesse had 4 guns in the house ''2 pistols, a shotgun & a rifle''. In an interview with the sheriff, Bob Ford echoed the same information when he said of Jesse, ''He owned one 45 caliber Colt and one 45 caliber Smith & Wesson''. Any other arm? ''One breech loading, double barreled shotgun and one Winchester rifle.'' It was also reported that those were the same weapons that the sheriff confiscated from the home on the day of the shooting. It is the 45 caliber S&W that was in Jesse's possession on that day that is believed to be available in this offering. As a side note, at the time of Jesse's assassination, S&W only offered one pistol in 45 caliber, the #3, 1st model Scholfield. Jesse was known to favor his S&W revolver for its quickness & ease of reloading. The Scholfield revolver, being a top-break pistol, ejected the old brass as opened & allowed for 6 new cartridges to be quickly dropped into their place. Jesse was reported to have written a letter to Smith & Wesson compliment them on their fine pistol.

The aforementioned guns were later retuned to Jesse's widow who at the time reported that she did not have much money. It is well known that over time she sold everything in her possession, all things once belonging to Jesse, in an attempt to financially survive. It is believed that the guns were acquired by his brother Frank James.


Fast forward to some 16 years ago. A S&W Scholfield was offered for auction by a major gun auction company without any fanfare. Once the bidding ended, the purchaser (a gun broker) was later approached & told they may have made a really good buy. He was told that there was supposed to be some information sent in, that didn't make it before the auction, that was going to ''somehow tie the pistol to the James Gang.'' He was told if the information ever arrived, it would be forwarded to him. It was a nice story, but the purchaser didn't think too much of it and didn't expect anything to ever be sent. The gun was actually purchased for a cowboy action shooting client who had requested he locate a S&W .45 caliber Scholfield on his behalf. As was the plan, the pistol was brought home & sold to the client, at which time he was told of the information that might come from the auction, possibly tying it to the James Gang. Again, nothing was expected or ever thought to materialize. The pistol was taken home & was broken down to be examined for mechanical worthiness to withstand its intended use as an authentic cowboy action shooting pistol. It was during that process that attempts were made to remove the ivory grips from the pistol. The grips were fully stuck as if glued to the gun. After much work, the grips were finally loosened & removed. They were being held onto the gun by what was immediately believed to be dried blood that had corroded the interior nickel plating of the backstrap & covered much of the interior of the grips. The blood was attempted to be cleaned away & it was during this process that it was discovered the grips had a number of signatures. Upon further inspection, the grips appeared to have the name ''James'' written repeatedly. This lent itself as support for the story that this pistol was supposed to have connection to the James Gang.


The discovery of the blood & signatures spurred the interest of the owner to do further research. It was this research & efforts to confirm a connection of the pistol to Jesse James that lead to the pistol being featured on the History Channel's television series ''Found''. It was during the filming of the episode featuring this pistol that Forensic Handwriting Expert Wendy Carlson was brought in to examine the writings on the ivory grips. Her qualifications, credentials & accolades are quite extensive. Having testified in court in nearly all the 50 states, she is truly qualified to make the correct assessment. She examined the grips along with several documents containing known signatures of Jesse James. Her conclusions can be viewed in the episode that aired & more thoroughly studied in her 25-page report. In the report she fully discusses all the details of the signatures, the similarities & the data for the supporting conclusions which she draws. To simplify or summarize here, Ill discuss the TV episode in which she said, ''Its highly probable that it is Jesse James' signatures.'' When further pushed by the hosts who asked, ''If this were a signature on a bank check would you cash it?'', Wendy responded, ''Yeah, I would.'' She also told the pistols owner, ''You have quite a piece of history here.'' It was at this point that one of the hosts stated that he never expected in a million years that this would be ''an authentic Jesse James piece.'' The other host stated that the owner now knew that he had ''over a million dollar plus pistol.'' The owner of the pistol appeared pretty excited with these positive confirmations.

Also, in the episode, the owner expressed a desire to have the blood analyzed hoping to further to tie it to Jesse James. It is known that Jesse's wife became covered in blood as she attended to her dying husband. It is also generally accepted that she would have grab Jesse's pistol & pointed it at Charlie Ford who returned inside the house to grab his hat while repeatedly claiming he was not the shooter & that the shooting was an accident. The Daily Gazette reported that she lifted Jesse's head & tried to wash away the blood that was coursing over his face from the hole in his forehead, but it seemed to her ''that the blood would come faster than she could wipe it away. And in her hands Jesse James died.'' It would have been in that process that Jesse's S&W Scholfield would have become saturated in his blood. Remember that the pistol was confiscated by the sheriff shortly thereafter & certainly would not have received any sort of thorough cleaning.

As a first step to try & determine if this was Jesse's blood on the grips, the shows hosts executed a test to first conclude if the red substance on the ivory grips was blood. Their test determined it was indeed blood & therefore they should next proceed with genetic testing. They took the grips to DNA testing experts, DNA Solutions, Inc, in Oklahoma City, OK.. Brandt G. Cassidy, PhD & Laboratory Director (now a professor of Genetics at the University of Oklahoma) oversaw the testing. He has submitted his findings in a notarized report, but it was summarized in the TV episode. He indicated he was not successful in the DNA testing. He concluded the blood was likely very old & not from a recent event. This supports the lack of DNA profile results as the once present DNA had been degraded over time. Now at 137 years old, its too old to extract DNA typing with the technology available today. However, he expressed that technology is developing at an accelerated rate & that within 10 years they may have the technology needed to extract DNA typing to compare it to the DNA they had obtained from Jesse's great grandson, Jim (James) Lewis. While they were not able to currently tie the DNA to the James Family, the pistol owner did feel it was a win that the laboratory established that the blood was indeed very old & not from a recent event.

In summary, the History Channel was able to conclude through their experts that there was a high probability that the pistol was indeed Jesse James through expert hand writing analysis. Also, that the red substance on the grips is indeed blood & that said blood was very old & not recent. They repeated throughout the episode that this was indeed a pistol worth in excess of $1,000,000. They also told the owner that they wish to do a follow-up when they can complete the DNA testing with more advanced technology.


Although the current owner never spoke of the signatures or blood on the grips to the gun broker from whom he had acquired the pistol, the broker spent the last 12 yrs of his life trying to re-acquire the pistol. He offered in excess of multiples the original selling price to get it back. The current owner never would sell, but suspected there must be a reason the broker wanted it back so badly. After the death of the gun broker, it came to light that indeed the promised packet of information tying the pistol to the James Gang was forwarded to the broker from the selling auction house. He never forwarded it to the current owner, but instead hoped to reacquire the pistol. The current owner later came to find out from a couple of the broker's friends that they were witness to the information the auction house had sent years ago. They have provided notarized letters of how they came to see the packet of information & the contents of the packet to their recollection. According to them, the packet contained pictures of Jesse & Frank James, newspaper clippings & articles pertaining to the pistol & one of the gentlemen remembers a document which indicated Frank James had received the pistol from the James family. Neither knows of the whereabouts of the packet & all efforts to relocate the packet of information with the broker's family were fruitless. Imagine the history that was lost with this packet.


Smith & Wesson, #3, 1st Model, Scholfield, Cal. 45 S&W Scholfield Cartridge, Single Action Revolver, Mfg. 1875, SN: 1388. The Scholfield 1st Model was produced during 1875 & serial numbered from 1 to 3035 with a total of 3,000 being delivered to the U.S. Army. The cost of these revolvers to the Army was $13.50. The #3, 1st model Scholfields purchased by the U.S. Government were finished in blue & equipped with 7'' barrels. The pistols were shipped directly from S&W to the U.S. Armory at Springfield , Massachusetts. When the Scholfield was dropped from service by the U.S. Army, they were purchased primarily by two dealers. These dealers were Schuyler, Hartley & Graham and Francis Bannerman, both of New York City. These dealers refinished many of the military issued revolvers in nickel and cut some of the barrels to 5'' thus offering two lengths. Wells Fargo Express Company was particularly fond of these revolvers & purchased many of them from the New York dealers for their agents. The Scholfield became an important Western legend & saw use in many important Western battles. It was very popular with law men & cowboys on the Western Frontier because of its ability to be rapidly reloaded.

A letter provided from The Smith & Wesson Factory indicates their research of company records shows this Scholfield 1st model, serial number 1388, was shipped from the factory on July 12, 1875 & was delivered to United States Government, National Armory, Springfield, MA. The records indicate this revolver was shipped with a 7'' barrel, blue finish & smooth walnut grips. The letter further confirms as previously stated above, that when these guns were surplus in 1880, many were nickel plated by the firm of Schuyler Hartley & Graham & fitted with Ivory grips to fill special orders. They indicate these old refinishes are very hard to tell as they are now over 100 years old. We believe Jesse's pistol is one of these pistols that was finished for special order by Schuyler Hartley & Graham.

The condition of the revolver, while probably secondary to its ultimate value & history, is still very important. The nickel finish remains at approximately 35%, with the underlining metal in areas of missing nickel turning to a gray/brown patina. The ivory grips have aged to an even butterscotch tone & are very good, with a hairline crack on the interior of one of the grips which does not extend through to the exterior. There is also a manufacturer's stamp on the inside of one of the grips. The bore is very good with strong lands & groove. The pistol indexes properly & the hammer stages correctly. The release mechanism for the top-break action is tight & functions as intended. The screws all remain in very good shape. The barrel carries a grooved rib from rear sight to front sight. Overall condition of the pistol is very good.* Antique No FFL Req.


-Period leather holster made specifically for Scholfiled & Ammo Belt with Factory .45 Scholfield Cartridges.

-DVDs entitled ''Outlaw Jesse James Last Pistol'', ''Found'' The History Channel Episode.

-Two page Smith & Wesson Factory Letter about the pistol, Signed by S&W Historian Mr. Roy G. Jinks

-The 25 page report by Forensic Handwriting Expert Wendy Carlson.

-Notarized report by Brandt G. Cassidy, PhD & Laboratory Director, DNA Solutions, Inc., Oklahoma City, OK.

-Two notarized letters from individuals who witnessed the now lost information packet which tied the pistol to Jesse & Frank James.

-Copy of The Daily Gazette of St. Joseph, Mo. Wednesday April 5, 1882, Reporting on all things surrounding the shooting of Jesse James.

-The James Family Tree Diagram

-Magazine ''TrueWest'' Collectors Edition Jesse James, Signed by Jesse's Great Grandson

-Catalog Showing the realized price of Bob Ford's pistol which shot Jesse James


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Smith & Wesso...

Item # 4159
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  Price:   US $670050  
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