Documented S&W First Model 1881 Double Action revolver s/n 408 belonging to Deputy Sheriff George W. Hoffman, killed in action, on 24th April, 1900.



£ 6,250.00

This low-numbered, first year of production, Smith & Wesson First Model 1881 Double Action revolver, serial number 408, has a five inch barrel and is in obsolete .44 Russian calibre. It has a rich, dark blue finish, case coloured hammer and trigger and is complimented with special order, two-piece pearl grips.  It also has been fitted with a target front sight. It is in excellent condition throughout and is virtually as it left the factory.                                                                       
Some 54,000 were manufactured and were still listed in the Company catalogue in the early 1900s and shipped up to 1913. John Wesley Hardin was carrying one when he was shot in the back and killed. Belle Starr, the Bandit Queen of Indian Territory, carried them.

This revolver has a first-class provenance of its owner- Deputy Sheriff George W. Hoffman, who bought it directly from the S&W factory, in 1881. The paperwork and newspaper clippings relate Hoffman’s life and his last gunfight and killing in 1900.

Provenance Summary

This revolver was sold by the Smith & Wesson factory, directly to Deputy Sheriff George W. Hoffman, on 28th June, 1881, together with its factory fitted pearl grips, five inch barrel and blue finish, billed as $26.50, together with a box of 100, .44 S&W Russian cartridges, caps, 500 primers and one set of .44 loading dyes for $2.45.

  • George W Hoffman was a dentist living and practicing as dentist in White River Junction, Hartford, Vermont.
  • He was also a Deputy Sheriff for Windsor County, Vermont , Sheriff’s Department.
  • George W Hoffman
  • Born in 1854
  • Married to
  • Practiced dentistry at
  • On 24th April, 1900, while deputy sheriff; he was part of a posse trying to capture two escaped convicts, Dustin and Frank Shaw, father and son.
  • At length, Sheriff Spofford and Hoffman faced off the Shaws who had their rifles trained on them.
  • When asked by Spofford, the father lowered his rifle, but the son did not. Hoffman told him to drop his rifle and warned him that he would shoot him. Sadly, he didn’t and in the stand-off, Frank Shaw fired, hit and seriously injured Hoffman who fell dying.
  • More of the posse arrived, shots were fired and the two convicts ran away and escaped – Frank Shaw was wounded in the shoulder.
  • Posse members carried Hoffman for a mile and a half to a house where he was seen by five doctors. His injury was so severe that Hoffman died later of his wound at 8.45pm on    24th April, 1900
  • Dustin and Frank Shaw were captured
  • The newspapers of the time, copies below, tell of this fight, of Hoffman and his death and the later capture of the two convicts. There are also two pictures of Frank Shaw who killed him.

George W Hoffman lived and practised as a dentist in White River Junction, Vermont. From 1881 he was a Deputy Sheriff at Windsor County Sheriff’s Office, Vermont. He was shot and died in the woods surrounding the town of Woodstock on Sunday, April 29, 1900 after a stand-off with two escaped convicts.

Vermont History in 1902
Chronological Summary of Events in the State during the Year just closed

Dec. 12-General assembly commutes death sentences of Frank Shaw, slayer of Deputy Sheriff G.W. Hoffman, White River Junction,

The provenance includes: S&W Historical letter, newspaper reports of the slaying of Deputy Sheriff Hoffman, photographs of Mr & Mrs Hoffman, photograph of his dentistry newspaper advert and his long frock black coat that he is wearing, in one of the photographs.