The L.C. Smith Collectors Association
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Re: Poulin's A-2 10 Gauge
The few very early shipping ledger records I've seen from this period provide very little detail, so I seriously doubt there's any information there; apparently even the grade designation is missing, which would account for the fact that this gun and gun #34896 were not picked up as being A-2 guns in Jim's exhaustive records research. I know a fair amount of the history of #34896 as it previously belonged to a collector friend Hal Jacques. Hal purchased the gun many years ago from an obscure gun shop in Maine; it was in well-used and neglected condition, so he sent the gun to Buck Hamlin for restoration. Afterwards Hal placed the gun on consignment at Colonial Gun Shop in Hillsborough, NC where John Houchins discovered the gun and purchased same. The second set of barrels was added by Hunter Arms sometime after the gun originally shipped. As to the barrels on this 10-bore, I see them as original; and let us not forget that 1892 was a still a time of transition from Syracuse era features to what would eventually be considered "standard" Hunter Arms features, so differences are often found and it's these variations that make these early guns so interesting. Remember also that up until about 1898, Hunter Arms ads listed both number and quality grades. The best example of that fact is seen in the photo of the high grade Smith gun on the cover of the Houchins book. That manual extractor gun was shipped to a New Orleans shipping magnate in either 1895 or '96 (not sure off the top of the head?), and I've seen the original invoice for same in which Hunter Arms recorded this gun as a "Quality 7, Extra Gold". Remember the A-3 was first cataloged in 1895, whereas the Quality 7 was allegedly replaced by the introduction of the A-2. We've no actual idea how many A-2 guns were ordered and shipped with manual extractors because we find none in the shipping ledgers, but there were likely more shipped than these two examples; and for whatever it's worth, there were more A-2 guns produced than the 213 recorded examples as I've personally examined two A-2's recorded in the shipping ledgers as Pigeon Grades. As to why this is so I have only speculation, but both were original Hunter guns with all the correct factory grade stamps and indicators. I've said many times, and this is a perfect illustration, that the variations we see in these early Smith guns are the reasons they are the most interesting to collectors.
- XXX Gun - Jim Stubbendieck March 20, 2021, 1:46 pm