Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3: Two Guns of Wild West Showman and Aviation Pioneer S.F. Cody

Auction Date: February 15, 2018

Winchester Model 1873 .22 Lever Action Rifle and Colt Model 1878 Double Action Revolver Attributed to Wild West Showman and Aviation Pioneer Samuel F. Cody (Cowdery)

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $6,500 - $9,500

A) Inscribed Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action .22 Short Rifle

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1873
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 22 short
Barrel: 24 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 2344
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 6
Class: Antique
Rating:

OE - GOOD - some minor replacement parts; metal smoothly rusted or lightly pitted in places, cleaned; principal lettering, numerals and design on metal legible; lightly scratched, bruised or minor cracks repaired; in good working order.

NPRF - NON-PROFESSIONALLY REFINISHED/COLD BLUE, ETC.

WW - WOOD IS WORSE FOR THE PERCENT FINISH RATING GIVEN

Description:

These two guns are attributed as once belonging to Wild West showman and aviation pioneer Samuel F. Cody. Born Samuel Franklin Cowdery in 1867, he would later change his surname to Cody for theatrical purposes (circa 1889), using the famous last name Cody as a means to attract a bigger audience to his Wild West shows. At the turn of the century, Cody began his successful experimentations with man lifting kites. He successfully crossed the English Channel in a kite towed by a Berthon boat. He also designed gliders and airships, and is credited for piloting the first official flight of a heavier than air machine in Great Britain. The accompanying Cody Firearms Records Office serial number confirmation lists this rifle with a round barrel in .22 caliber and plain trigger when it was received in the warehouse on March 18, 1890, and shipped on June 11, 1890. The dust cover rail is inscribed "S.F. Cody." The sides of the buttstock are stamped "S.F. CODY JR." It is listed as item 60 in Sotheby's exclusive S.F. Cody archive auction held on January 24, 1996. An auction catalog is included. Comes with a period crate for five rifles, two single large sphere molds (the spheres were used in Cody's shooting act), small target sphere with sterling stand, resin hunks for making the target sphere, melting pot and consignor research. The inside of the crate has two felt Winchester advertisements. The molds are listed as item 31 in the Sotheby's catalog; one mold clearly has Cody markings and the second mold appears to have a very faint "CODY" marking.

B) Colt Model 1878 Double Action Revolver with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1878
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 45 LC
Barrel: 5 1/2 inch round
Finish: nickel
Grip: walnut
Stock:
Item Views: 2344
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 6
Class: Antique
Rating:

OE - GOOD - some minor replacement parts; metal smoothly rusted or lightly pitted in places, cleaned; principal lettering, numerals and design on metal legible; lightly scratched, bruised or minor cracks repaired; in good working order.

NPRF - NON-PROFESSIONALLY REFINISHED/COLD BLUE, ETC.

WW - WOOD IS WORSE FOR THE PERCENT FINISH RATING GIVEN

Description:

Factory letter lists this revolver with 5 1/2" barrel in .45 caliber, blue finish and hard rubber stocks when it was shipped to Colt's London Agency on March 8, 1888. Museum or collector number is on the inside of the trigger guard. This revolver is listed as item 55 in Sotheby's S.F. Cody archive auction held on January 24, 1996. The accompanying 2014 dated letter from the Fort Worth Museum collections manager suggests that this revolver was acquired by the museum through Sotheby's S.F. Cody auction; however, the description of the revolver in the letter is for item number 53, not 55, a possible inventory error by the museum. Ownership by the Fort Worth Museum would explain the museum type collection number on the trigger guard.

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