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There are engravers and then there are engravers. Not everyone who chisels steel is skilled and experienced enough to work the steel as if it was to be a living testament to the mastery of their chosen art form. Kurt Jaeger was such an engraver, a Master Engraver. At some time in the late 1940s, he invested an unknown number of hours creating a masterwork based on one Smith & Wesson Victory model revolver. This is that revolver. Should it be a corner stone for your collection?

S & W Victory Model (ala Military & Police) 6-shot revolver with 4 inch barrel, chambered in the .38 S&W Special. This museum piece of firearm art is profusely engraved and inlaid with gold wire by the German Master Engraver, Kurt Jaeger, blued all over and stocked with fantastic German stag grips.

This vintage WWII Victory revolver carries a V-prefixed serial number on the underside of its barrel and on the back of the cylinder, and a “V” stamp on the frame under the left grip panel. A “P” proof mark follows the serial number under the barrel and precedes the “V” on the cylinder. Matching assembly numbers are stamped on the frame and cylinder crane.

S&W manufactured the Victory Model handguns from 1942 through 1944. This is one of those sought-after Victory revolvers.

Subsequent to its creation at the S&W factory, Kurt Jaeger (Jager), a Master Firearms Engraver and gunsmith known for his meticulous detail and high quality engraving profusely engraved this Victory revolver.

By way of background, Kurt Jaeger was born and grew up in Suhl. During WWII, he was drafted into the German army, subsequently wounded and taken prisoner by U.S. forces. After the war, he initially engraved firearms primarily for American servicemen. For a time, he worked from the Wiesbaden Rod and Gun Club at the American Air Force base. Many of his American customers were high ranking officers in the US Air Force and other services and ranking members of the Allies’ services. He and his nephew, Dietrich Apel, ran a small shop in Mainz and in the 1950s, when German citizens were allowed to own and purchase firearms again, his primary customers came from his homeland. He passed away in 2003.

This Victory Model revolver is beautifully engraved in a finely detailed, three dimensional, sculpted oak leaf and acorn pattern over most of the exposed steel. Additional engraving includes finely checkered panels, flowing border lines, and tiny circular accent designs.

NOTE:  for all oak leaf and acorn engravings, each oak leaf is detailed with engraving inside the sculpted borders of the leaf; each acorn cap is engraved inside the border line of the cap and each acorn has at least one line of internal engraving on the body of the acorn. Kurt Jaeger did not just “suggest” an oak leaf or an acorn, he created them in three dimensions and then embellished each with details that add character and realism. The top surfaces of the leaves and the acorns are polished blue and stand free of the surrounding steel. The back grounds surrounding the leaves and acorns are blue black with a flat, non-polished surface to create a strong contrast that highlights the leaves and acorns.

Beginning at the muzzle: the barrel tip is engraved on both sides with acorn leaves, and embellished with gold wire flourishes that wrap the muzzle area and extend down both sides of the barrel until the wires meet additional oak leaves carved into both sides of the barrel where it joins the frame. The barrel carries additional engraving in a band of small, decorative acorns around the area where it joins the frame and in rows of herringbones running from base to muzzle on each side of a barrel rib crafted onto the top of the barrel.

The removable, swept front sight sits on an elegant ramp that is part of a full length rib. The rib is engraved over its entire length with a cross hatched pattern bordered on each side with long waves of uninterrupted engraving.

The frame: the engraving on the frame combines careful placement of oak leaves, acorns, Germanic flourishes and finely formed and inlaid gold wire. The gold is as bright and precious today as it was when Kurt Jaeger hammered it into the undercut steel so many years ago. All over the frame, panels of oak leaves and acorns are bordered with gold. Additional embellishments include rows and borders of tiny circles, elegant flourishes and graceful curves and swirls and crosshatched panels and herringbone rows. The front, bottom and rear of the grip straps are embellished fully. The top of the frame is engraved with rows of flourishes bordered with gold wire along both sides of the sight channel.

The cylinder and crane: Both the cylinder and its crane carry oak leaves and acorn panels bordered with gold wire. The cylinder flutes are left as smooth, blued steel. The rear of the cylinder carries a combination of delicately engraved ornaments running in two parallel rows completely around the circumference. Gold wire borders the ornaments, a continuous line of gold in front of the ornament area and a series of interrupted gold wire along the rear edge of the cylinder, interrupted by the recessed areas that mate with the cylinder locking pawl. The front of the crane has oak leaves and acorns. The cylinder release lever is crosshatch engraved in the area recessed for the thumb ... AND is engraved around the attaching screw hole AND across the front of the lever, as well. The cylinder ejector rod end is engraved in a fine, crosshatch pattern.

The trigger guard: the bottom of the trigger guard combines a panel of oak leaves and acorns with a gold wire border. Additional engraving includes a ring of tiny circles placed around the front screw hole with oak leaves and acorns and gold wire embellishing the forward tip of the guard area. Two parallel rows of tiny circles border the edge of the underside of the frame as it curves from the trigger guard area to the front strap.

The hammer and trigger: both the hammer and the trigger are embellished with bright finish, swirled jewelling on both sides of each part. The thumb tang of the hammer is crosshatched. The front of the trigger is vertically ribbed. The back of the trigger is smooth and blued.

The grips: the grips are fully figured German stag with high ridges and contrasting brown coloring in the valleys. They are a wonderful matched pair that show the heart of the horn at their bases. They contour to the grip frame of the S&W as if they grew in place. Because of their strong three dimensional relief, their color, their near-perfect match and their elegant shape, we feel that these grips are the most beautiful that we have ever seen on a handgun.

The screw heads: all visible screw heads are engraved, carefully, with straight lines placed with spaces between each so that they show distinctly.

“KURT JAEGER MAINZ” is engraved into the left edge of the frame’s top strap.

Wooden case: This Victory model comes with a custom wooden case with fitted red velvet interior, brass fittings and key. External dimensions: 12 3/4 inches wide by 7 3/8 inches high by 2 inches deep. In our opinion, the case was built for this revolver and the revolver was stored in the case for its life time. The bottom of the case has surface scratches and minor wear consistent with being stored or moved around on a some surface from time to time for 65 years or so.

Condition of the revolver is excellent as professionally custom embellished. The revolver appears new since it left the hands of Kurt Jaeger some 65 or 70 years ago (our estimate). 99% + of the blue finish remains. The gold work is fresh and bright. There is some minor edge wear and an almost invisible drag line on the cylinder. The jewelling on the sides of the hammer and trigger is fresh with its distinctive swirling patterns. The grips are exceptional. They are a matched pair of German stag horn grips which appear to have been fashioned from a section of a single horn, with beautiful, almost identical ridges and brown coloring ... the most beautiful stag grips that we have ever seen.

SN: V480822

This S&W Victory model is a museum piece, an heirloom worthy of the highest order collection. One only.

Cash price: $6695, revolver and case, shipped with insurance. This revolver does qualify as a Curio and Relic.