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 Found a rare one... 
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Went to a private sale transfer buy for an older S&W Model 39, the original S&W 9mm DA handgun. I had recently passed on an old S&W revolver (what's known as a pre-Victory made in 1942) and had some $$$ burning a hole in my pocket. I figured I couldn't go wrong with a nice old shooter.

I didn't get a nice old shooter. I ended up with one of the first 200 9mms to leave the factory out of a run of over 85,000! It even predates when S&W started model numbers in 1956/57, it's simply a pre-39 or "S&W 9mm Automatic Pistol" if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

For those of us who love to hunt for old collectible guns, the easy way to tell is there no model # under the serial. While making the buy, that was actually my first clue that this was something special...and I collect S&Ws!

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It's in shooter condition which works for me. 98% examples of these early guns, all complete with box, sell for $2,000-$2,500.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:20 pm
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That's a sweet-looking pistol!

So when was it made, roughly? Mid-50s then?

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:21 pm
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Yes best guess is 1955-56 timeframe. I should have a S&W Catalog, but have been getting by just asking "real" experts on the S&W Forum. I will probably get a factory letter for this one, it's pretty special. Only 1600 pre-39s out there.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:49 pm
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WOW! That's beautiful! Now I know what I need to look for next...


Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:55 pm
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DGM33 wrote:
WOW! That's beautiful! Now I know what I need to look for next...


I think every "gun nut" should know generally of the top collectible/rare guns, and at least one manufacturer specifically. It's funny...the LGS where I made the transfer had a bunch of old Colts (mostly SAAs and Police .38s) and I couldn't tell ya if they are rare or common as dirt. Snake guns, sure.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:19 pm
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hkcavalier wrote:
DGM33 wrote:
WOW! That's beautiful! Now I know what I need to look for next...


I think every "gun nut" should know generally of the top collectible/rare guns, and at least one manufacturer specifically. It's funny...the LGS where I made the transfer had a bunch of old Colts (mostly SAAs and Police .38s) and I couldn't tell ya if they are rare or common as dirt. Snake guns, sure.


Not sure with the "quotes" if I'm being snubbed here or not, but I'll choose not to take this personally.

And yes, I have a list of my personal top collectible guns. I just hadn't included one of those yet and that thing is freaking sweet!


Last edited by DGM33 on Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:36 pm
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hkcavalier wrote:
Yes best guess is 1955-56 timeframe. I should have a S&W Catalog, but have been getting by just asking "real" experts on the S&W Forum. I will probably get a factory letter for this one, it's pretty special. Only 1600 pre-39s out there.



I've got the catalog, what do you need to look up?

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:41 pm
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Beautiful piece!


Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:50 pm
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Dayum! That is a sweet score.


Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:56 pm
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TINCANBANDIT wrote:
hkcavalier wrote:
Yes best guess is 1955-56 timeframe. I should have a S&W Catalog, but have been getting by just asking "real" experts on the S&W Forum. I will probably get a factory letter for this one, it's pretty special. Only 1600 pre-39s out there.



I've got the catalog, what do you need to look up?


Well, probable ship date based on serial would be nice. #1173. Serial range started with 1001. I don't think the Catalog will, at this point, tell me much else I don't know i.e. the differences between these and actual 39s or 39-2s.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:59 pm
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I have been lucky enough to find a couple Smiths where the owner didn't know what made them great. One was a Pre-19 (which were only made for less than two years, 56 and part of 57 before they started model marking them) from Wade's of all places. They had it priced as just a regular Mod. 19.
The other was a Pre-War K22 outdoorsman made around '31 that the guy just wanted to trade for a Glock because he didn't like the little sites and had gotten it in trade.

The discovery of mis identified gems is one of my favorite parts of collecting Smiths!

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:30 pm
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Fungunnin wrote:
I have been lucky enough to find a couple Smiths where the owner didn't know what made them great. One was a Pre-19 (which were only made for less than two years, 56 and part of 57 before they started model marking them) from Wade's of all places. They had it priced as just a regular Mod. 19.
The other was a Pre-War K22 outdoorsman made around '31 that the guy just wanted to trade for a Glock because he didn't like the little sites and had gotten it in trade.

The discovery of mis identified gems is one of my favorite parts of collecting Smiths!

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk


I too have an early K22, serial 638xxx. Have been told it too is 1931 but haven't lettered it.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:48 pm
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hkcavalier wrote:
Fungunnin wrote:
I have been lucky enough to find a couple Smiths where the owner didn't know what made them great. One was a Pre-19 (which were only made for less than two years, 56 and part of 57 before they started model marking them) from Wade's of all places. They had it priced as just a regular Mod. 19.
The other was a Pre-War K22 outdoorsman made around '31 that the guy just wanted to trade for a Glock because he didn't like the little sites and had gotten it in trade.

The discovery of mis identified gems is one of my favorite parts of collecting Smiths!

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk


I too have an early K22, serial 638xxx. Have been told it too is 1931 but haven't lettered it.
Is that early enough to have a brass call bead and single rear sight adjustment screw? Mine is a 635xxx gun. I love the craftmenship on these old guns!

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:09 pm
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Fungunnin wrote:
hkcavalier wrote:
Fungunnin wrote:
I have been lucky enough to find a couple Smiths where the owner didn't know what made them great. One was a Pre-19 (which were only made for less than two years, 56 and part of 57 before they started model marking them) from Wade's of all places. They had it priced as just a regular Mod. 19.
The other was a Pre-War K22 outdoorsman made around '31 that the guy just wanted to trade for a Glock because he didn't like the little sites and had gotten it in trade.

The discovery of mis identified gems is one of my favorite parts of collecting Smiths!

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk


I too have an early K22, serial 638xxx. Have been told it too is 1931 but haven't lettered it.
Is that early enough to have a brass call bead and single rear sight adjustment screw? Mine is a 635xxx gun. I love the craftmenship on these old guns!

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk


Mine has a Marble front sight, possibly factory though only a letter will tell. Rear is the standard adjustable as found on all K22s until 1939 or 40.

I've actually been pleasantly surprised by the number of collectible guns out in the Spokane area. Heaven help you if you need to sell a nice gun quickly, it's very tough. I check Armslist every couple weeks and it's 90% the same guns since I got here in April. Most are priced OK too. Of course, checking that often probably means I am missing any screaming deals like some dude posting a letters matching Luger for $600 (for example). The S&W I just bought was through a local board that's kind of like WaGuns but pretty much all business, no threads about...y'know...other stuff.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:43 pm
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hkcavalier wrote:
TINCANBANDIT wrote:
hkcavalier wrote:
Yes best guess is 1955-56 timeframe. I should have a S&W Catalog, but have been getting by just asking "real" experts on the S&W Forum. I will probably get a factory letter for this one, it's pretty special. Only 1600 pre-39s out there.



I've got the catalog, what do you need to look up?


Well, probable ship date based on serial would be nice. #1173. Serial range started with 1001. I don't think the Catalog will, at this point, tell me much else I don't know i.e. the differences between these and actual 39s or 39-2s.



the book says 927 steel frame model 39s were built but not released for sale until 1966, the aluminum frames started at serial number 1001, yours was among the first shipped from the factory (1001 thru approx 2600). the book says yours is worth $800-$1100

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Actor portrayal, Action figures sold separately, You must be at least this tall to ride, Individual results may vary, Sales tax not included, All models are over 18 years of age, upon approval of credit, Quantities are limited while supplies last, Some restrictions apply, Not available with other offers, At participating locations only, Void where prohibited, Above terms subject to change without notice, Patent pending.


See my blog: http://tincanbandit.blogspot.com/


Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:46 pm
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