Re: Kraus Signature
Posted by Tom Archer on October 13, 2021, 12:03 pm, in reply to "Kraus Signature"
Bill, you keep asking the same question; the Julia gun is THE authentic Deluxe, however it has not remained in original untouched condition given the later added beavertail and maybe other changes. I realize you're a Parker expert and can easily spot all finish details and nuance differences between, and given the class of each high grade Parker gun; high-grade Smith guns have different finish details to distinguish each grade also. The Redding is lacking in Deluxe Grade detail and is a fake built for one reason, to deceive a buyer lacking knowledge of what constitutes an actual Deluxe. Had the gun been done simply as an upgrade, the serial number would not have been changed. |
David Williamson raised a question about an Albert Kraus signature on the Deluxe Grade, #202811, sold at Julia's March, 2014, Auction. I have examined the pictures in the Auction catalog under magnification and strong light. The picture of the tang under the open top latch shows a tiny "A E KRA" engraving. It should be noted that the metal coloration differs in the area incorporating the engraved letters. The original picture digital record was sold to Morphy's when James Julia went out of business. The online Julia Auction pictures have not been well-maintained by Morphy. The description of the gun in Lot 3459 was done by the infamous Parker Team member, Malcolm MacGregor. One possibility is that someone other than Albert Kraus engraved his signature at a later date. The gun is not original in that it now has a beavertail forend rather than the original splinter.
As to Denver's comment above, I've given this question additional thought; and the only items I know Kraus signed for certain were his paintings. These he did on his own time as a hobby and generally gave them away to friends as mementoes.
In checking his painting signatures, illustrations I found were clearly and boldly signed "A. E. Kraus"; so when I considered what Denver could discern on this gun "A.E.KRA", my first thought is that the letters "US" to complete his name is not visible and my second thought is that, if it was, that "signature" was an attempt to match those on his paintings. Given Denver's observations and the fact that the original configuration was changed somewhat, I am suspicious that the "signature" was a later add. There's a couple of reasons why that might be the case. First of all, Albert Kraus enjoyed world renown fame as a master engraver; if someone unscrupulous decided to add a touch of "proof" to a gun he is claiming is Kraus engraved, why not add his initials to increase desirability and value? And since those initials could not be incorporated into an already fully engraved gun, what better place to do so than under the opening lever when just enough can be seen to "validate" the claim and convince a buyer? Do you find it odd that master engravers who signed their work during this period did so where their name/initials/mark could be clearly seen? According to what I've been able to learn, period engravers seldom signed their work and usually did so on customer request. Given that Kraus boldly signed his paintings, I am convinced he would have done likewise on guns he engraved; and that his signature/mark would be artistically incorporated into what ever scenes he planned to engrave. I've seen a few of Kraus original engraving sketches; apparently he always drew out his designs (maybe for approval by the customer or management?) prior to actual execution. And finally, I'll never make an absolute claim that there are no Kraus signed guns; only that I'm still awaiting authentication that such a gun exists.
For kicks and giggles below are three images, the first being Kraus's hand drawn sketches of the guard bow and lever for a Deluxe Grade being built for Robert F. Powers. The second is an old factory photo from the Kraus estate showing the bottom of Mr. Powers gun with his gold inlayed signature; the third is the same type photo that I believe (not sure) shows one side of the Powers gun. This Smith Deluxe was not signed by Mr. Kraus.