Incredibly rare manuscript DS, signed “Horace Smith” and “D. B. Wesson,” one lightly-lined page, 6.75 x 9.25, December 8, 1874. A railroad document, in full: “The undersigned, Directors, Clerk & Treasurer of the Springfield & New London Rail Road Company, hereby certify that the amount of capital stock of said company has been fully subscribed by responsible parties, and ten per cent of the par value of each & every share thereof has been paid in cash to the Treasurer of the association: and that it is intended in good faith to locate, construct, maintain and operate the said railroad, fixed according to the maps and plans hereunto attached.” Maps and plans not present. Signed at the conclusion by Smith and Wesson, and also signed by directors “Willis Phelps,” “Horace Kibbe,” “E. A. Perkins,” “William Matoon,” “W. L. Wilcox,” “Wm Birnie,” “Virgil Perkins,” and “Lewis H. Taylor.” Also signed by “T. M. Dewey Clerk” and “Charles Marsh Treasurer.” Nicely cloth-matted and shadowboxed with an antique Smith and Wesson top break revolver to an overall size of 15.25 x 24. In fine condition, with two small file holes to the top border, and some light wear to the right edge.
This document dates to 1874, when Smith & Wesson’s two biggest customers were the US Cavalry and the Russian Empire. Among the pistols in production at the time was the Smith & Wesson .44 model 3, also known as the Russian Model or the Schofield Revolver depending on who the customer was. This model saw action in the Russo-Turkish War, the Spanish American War, and countless skirmishes with Native Americans. The gunmaker’s investment in a rail line strengthening the transportation link between Springfield and the shipping hub of New York was also an investment in the company’s own future. This very rare railroad certificate is one of less than a handful of known documents signed by both founders of the Massachusetts gun company to be sold at auction in the past 35 years.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.