About 20 years ago I bought, from a friend, an S&W #2 with a 6" bbl. The serial # indicates it was made in 1868. The gun was found on a junk table at a gun show in southwestern GA, about 60 mi from Pollard, AL. Whoever had it used a wire brush to knock the patina off, therefore destroying its value as a collector piece. My friend collected S&Ws at the time so he bought it as a type-piece, since he didn't have a #2 at the time. He took it home and took the grips off to see if they were original--S&W stamped the serial# on the inside of the grips. To quote him, "About a hundred years of grunge fell out." The grips were the originals, & carved on the inside of each grip were the initials JWH. He was probably the only person in GA at the time who knew enough about Texas & southwestern history to connect the place he found the gun to its possible original owner, John Wesley Hardin. Hardin was hiding at Pollard, AL, at the time he was captured. The gun has since been authenticated, in so far as is possible, by Leon C. Metz of El Paso, Hardin's biographer. It's currently on loan to our local museum, together with an original copy of Hardin's autobiography, which was published posthumously by the ancestor of our local paper.
When Hardin was captured, his wife & 3 children were stuck in AL with no way to get back to Texas. The Hardins were spending every penny to get lawyers for Wes to keep his neck out of a noose. The Bowens, her family, were spending every penny to keep their son, Joshua 'Brown' Bowen, out of the hands of the law. He's the one who actually committed the 'snoring man' murder, not Wes. He was hanged for it in the old Gonzales jail, about 30 miles from where I'm sitting right now. Jane probably sold everything the family had, including any guns Wes didn't have on him when he was captured. Nearly 100 years later Wes's stingy gun showed up on a junk table at a gun show in GA.
This gun is locked away and I cannot recall which "number" Smith it is. It's a 32. These guns used to be very cheap and I didn't pay much for this one, but they have increased in value. This little shooter locks up like new, but I've never shot it. You can still buy 32 shorts...least you could last time I checked.
Again, much later manufacture. That's a break-top DA, probably out of the 1880s. The serial # on mine says it was made in 1868.
That's a 'Baby Russian'--much later manufacture. The #s 1, 1½, & 2 were break-back, like the Remington double derringer.