The L.C. Smith Collectors Association
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Re: Start Date....
I believe you are correct that this gun did begin life as a Quality 7; and perhaps that's exactly what it is (the cover gun on John's book is an 1895 vintage Quality 7 "extra gold" according to the surviving invoice), but it is completely void of any grade designation marks (I've had this gun apart); so any claim that it is an A2 is only speculation. John Houchins possessed a vivid imagination; and as an attorney, his mind set was that if he could establish "reasonable association", he'd proved his theory was true. But the truth is that yours truly found and researched this gun; and no evidence of ownership could be established past 1920-25, so his conclusion that this is indeed Mr. Smith's gun is sheer speculation. And also to my knowledge, there is no evidence that this gun was presented to Mr. Smith in 1892 or at any other time. Since the company was sold in 1889, and negotiations could have commenced as early as 1888 one would think any gun made especially for Mr. Smith would have been finished and delivered long before 1892. Brother John possessed a vivid imagination, and we certainly want to believe this is Mr. Smith's gun; we just can't prove it was. The write-up featured in John's book was originally done by me; then rewritten by John (unbeknownst to me) to coincide with his narrative that it was indeed LC Smith's gun. All I can conclusively say about this gun is that it exists, is beautifully engraved and was used incredibly hard. So hard that the faces of the hammers are actually "flattened" from having been slammed so many times against the back side of firing pins (never seen that kind of wear on another double), and the barrel loop has been repaired by welding in a wedge to put the gun back on face. With old Lyman having passed on around 1910, I can't imagine he used the gun that hard in his lifetime; but when this gun was new it was stunning.