.44 S & W Russian caliber, 6.5" barrel, S/N 0144 . With matching serial numbers throughout. The left side of the frame features an engraved T , a common marking on pistols used by Ad and Plinky Toepperwein in exhibitions. The right side of the frame features an engraved ribbon surrounded by scroll designs that reads From Ad Toepperwein To Bud Coffey - 1945 . The correct spelling of the name is Toepperwein , however Winchester dropped the first " e" . The walnut grips with the inlaid S&W medallion have a piece of cloth wrapped around the lower end of the butt.
Bud Coffey was a personal friend of the Toepperweins, and was one of the close friends of Ad who was gifted an exhibition used firearm belonging to the couple. Included with the pistol is a copy of a letter from Toepperwein to Coffey, in which Ad states " This 44 Russian S+W pistol is the first pistol I ever owned + the one I learned to shoot aerial targets." Ad goes on to claim that he used this pistol in every state in the U.S., and that he " established the worlds record with this gun, hitting 94 x 100 1 3/4 in. metal discs thrown in the air with this same pistol." Also of interest, the letter states that Ad's wife, Plinky, " learned her pistol work with this pistol, later switching to the .38 Colts. " The letter continues with Ad stating that he wanted to turn the pistol over to Bud so that he would "have something to remember me by + to repay you in a way for the many things you have done for Plinky + me."
Accompanied with the pistol is a signed and notarized letter from Smith & Wesson Historian Roy G. Jinks, stating that this pistol was shipped from our factory on December 20, 1910, and delivered to Douglas B. Wesson, Smith & Wesson Sales Department, Springfield, MA . Mr. Jinks also goes on to state that The zero series handguns were manufactured by Smith & Wesson an (sic) used to supply shooting clubs or well known target shooters to use in competition. It is assumed that Wesson presented this pistol to Toepperwein at some point in his illustrious career as an exhibition shooter.
The pistol also includes a copy of an appraisal from Norm Flayderman for S.P. "Bud" Coffey, dated April 28th, 1983.
Also included is a copy of the bill of sale from S.P. "Bud" Coffey to Col. Rex Applegate, Dated June 17th, 1983.
Provenance: Purchased from the Rex Applegate collection by the current owner.
**Requires C&R or FFL - see T&C if you are not personally a license holder
The pistol has an old, re-blued finish, and is in near excellent condition. The hammer and the trigger guard display bright case coloring, with some fading on the rear of the exterior of the trigger guard. The grips are in very good to excellent condition. The bore and mechanics are excellent.