A .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson revolver etched and engraved by Ken Hunt for George Washington Vanderbilt III
Serial no. S124723 for 1954, .357 Magnum. 8 3/8 inch barrel with target sights. Gilt finish with blued rear sight, ejector/rod, cylinder release and screwheads, the latter engraved. Casehardened hammer and trigger. Finely engraved, etched and signed by Kenneth C. Hunt, with a design of scrollwork interspersed with various forms of marine life, water weeds and nautical motifs: either side of the barrel with classical dolphins at the rear and a school of three pike forward; a fish on either side of ejector housing, the blued housing pin incorporated as their eyes; left side of frame with a fish and waterweeds at the top, a flying fish above the triggerguard and Aphrodite on her shell drawn by a dolphin and accompanied by Poseidon and mermaids and with the engraver's initials below; right side with a crab by the barrel; triggerguard inscribed George Vanderbilt; apron above grip engraved with a schooner and the legend Pioneer. Signed sequentially on the sides of the topstrap Kenneth C. Hunt/London England. Elephant ivory grips, the left side relief-carved with an anchor.
Condition: Excellent. Retaining 96-98% gilt finish showing bubbling, some edge wear and scattered patches of spotting and losses to finish, mainly around one flute of cylinder and on right side of barrel. Gun appears unfired as chambers retain virtually all gilt finish. 99% blued finish on subsidiary parts. Hammer and trigger retain most partly faded casehardening colors with some pinpoint spotting. Left grip medallion missing, the butt with some very small chips. See Illustration