Rock Island Auction Company
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Selling: December 8, 2013

Lot 3000: Winchester - 1873

Sold for Winchester - 1873
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Historic Documented Winchester Factory Presentation First Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle Presented to Firearms Inventor Edward Stabler with Factory Letter
Estimated Price: $40,000 - $60,000
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Serial #Winchester - 1873 ManufacturerWinchester Model1873
TypeRifle Gauge44-40 Catalog Page5
Barrel28 Inch Round FinishBlue/casehardened Grip
Stockwalnut ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis historic Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle was presented by the Winchester Arms Company to Edward Stabler, the inventor of the Stabler cut-off system. This is confirmed by a factory letter that states this rifle was shipped on September 21, 1875, order number 3722 with round barrel, set trigger, XXXX (4X) wood, beach sights, casehardened, and (remarks column) stabler. Post-Civil War Spencer carbines and rifles were equipped with Edward Stabler's cut-off mechanism that, when engaged, prevented the breechblock from moving far enough to chamber a cartridge from the buttstock magazine, thus allowing for the Spencer to be used as a single-shot arm. Stabler received a royalty of 25 cents for each arm fabricated with his magazine cut-off device, which became very popular with officers who believed the fire rate of the Spencer exhausted ammunition before it could be supplied. Prior to inventing the cut-off device, Stable had designed a spring assist for the Spencer blade ejector in 1864. The left side of the buttstock on this Model 1873 has a small representation plaque that reads, "PRESENTED/TO/Edward Stabler/BY THE/WINCHESTER ARMS CO." The included Winchester factory letter confirms that this rifle was presented to Stabler. The letter also confirms the rifle configuration, round barrel, set trigger, XXXX wood and casehardened receiver with beach sights at time of original shipment on September 21, 1875, order number 3722. This desirable First Model 1873 rifle has the distinctive dust cover held in place by grooved guides on either side of the top of the receiver, checkered oval finger grip on top of the dust cover and the lever latch with the visible screw threads. The dust cover construction is the primary difference between the various styles of Model 1873s. First Models are found in the 1 to about 31,000 serial number range of the Model 1873. The blade front sight and elevation adjustable rear sight are replacements with a peep sight mounted on the tang. An open dovetail sight is positioned behind the rear sight. The top of the barrel is stamped "WINCHESTERS-REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29. 1866. OCTOBER 16.1860." behind the rear sight and is an 1 1/4 inches from the receiver ring. The upper tang is marked "MODEL 1873" and the lower tang is marked with the serial number. The rifle is correctly without caliber markings. The rifle has a set trigger and sling swivels mounted on the buttstock and forend cap. The set trigger, 28 inch barrel, select walnut stock with checkering on the wrist and sling swivels were special factory features. Any special features are rare on the already rare First Model 1873 Rifle. Mounted on a nicely figured smooth walnut forearm and checkered straight grip stock with a steel forend cap, a compass embedded on the underside of the buttstock ahead of the sling swivel and crescent buttplate. The buttplate has a compartment, which contains a pull through bore swab.

ConditionFine. The rifle retains original traces of original blue finish with the balance a smooth dark brown patina. The receiver has areas faded to a silver gray with flashes of original case colors mixed with a smooth dark brown patina. The wood is very fine with some minor handling marks and overall crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. This rifle is a newly discovered treasure and is from the descendants of Edward Stabler.
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Premiere Auction Terms

Terms and conditions regarding Premiere Auctions. Revised : 08/29/2014


SHIPPING CHARGES. All shipping charges must be paid by the successful bidder prior to delivery of the firearm. If Rock Island Auction (RIAC) is asked to ship the purchased lots, there will be a separate charge for such shipping. Shipping charges will be based upon what it costs RIAC to ship the purchased lots to the purchaser. All items must have shipping insurance; this insurance is mandatory. RIAC will not charge any labor charges for shipping. RIAC is not liable for any acts of omissions in packaging or shipping. Purchased lots handled by outside carriers or packers, including those RIAC may have recommended, may carry their own insurance and any claims for losses or damages should be addressed directly to the outside carriers or packers. RIAC will arrange for packing and shipping at RIAC’s earliest possible convenience. RIAC will attempt to ship as soon as possible; however, due to RIAC’s high volume of absentee bids, shipping can take up to two weeks after full payment is received. In the case of crating or any exceptional packaging, the purchaser will be charged RIAC’s cost from outside agents. Purchaser pays shipping, packing materials, and insurance charges. The shipping of any purchased items outside of the United States is hereby classified as “foreign export”. All foreign export is the sole responsibility of the purchaser.