The L.C. Smith Collectors Association
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Re: A-3 20-bore
Posted by Tom Archer on July 8, 2020, 11:56 pm, in reply to "Re: A-3 20-bore
Perhaps whoever upgraded this gun may have originally intended it simply to be just that; an upgrade. That said, I first became aware of this gun in the 1990's when it was advertised as part of a Smith gun collection by a mid-western dealer as being the restored original one of one A-3 20-bore two barrel set. It was sold almost immediately for about $70K to a collector in AL who I was told was terminally ill with cancer; and this gun, and others he was purchasing were to be left as an inheritance for his children. I was contacted by the dealer who had the gun on consignment 8-10 years ago, a dealer with questions regarding authenticity as he wanted nothing to do with the gun if it was a fake as it could severely damage his reputation. I learned later that this gun was consigned to another dealer or two before finally being sold (I was told for $105K). I personally believe the gun was intentionally made to be marketed as the 2nd A-3 20 bore and make that claim based on the information uncovered during research. You will recall the tale coming with Frank's gun; that Mr. Brophy allegedly said the original A-3 had been destroyed in a fire. If that claim was true then others undoubtedly heard the same claim and some unknown unscrupulous dealer commissioned a fake A-3 replacement. And why not, for if the gun had indeed been destroyed then who could definitively claim it wasn't the salvaged and restored original? And we must also remember that we didn't have the information in the 80's and early 90's we now have, and that during that time period we did have unscrupulous dealers making a good living faking high grade doubles; especially high-grade Lefevers (Optimus and Thousand Dollar grades) because there were no surviving Lefever records. Some of these Lefever fakes were really well done; and unlike our subject fake A-3, much harder to ID as a fake. Some of the hard-hitting points I wanted to make in my article were edited out (probably considered too controversial); but the main point to remember is that unscrupulous dealers still exist, and will gladly take advantage of folks who are too na´ve to do their homework.
And allow me to make one final point while on the subject of fakes. If one could study the remaining Hunter Arms shipping ledgers one would find the occasional serial number block with no data entry; apparently indicating that this serial numbered frame was never made into a gun. Can you imagine the faked high grade Smith guns we'd see if this information ever fell into the hands of the wrong person/s? No one is more aware of this fact than our Board of Directors; and rest assured that they will never allow these shipping records to be compromised.