Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1049: Savage Model 1899 Lever Action Rifle-Deep Relief Carved Stock

Auction Date: December 3, 2016

Important, FRESH and Historic Factory Engraved, Gold Inlaid and "HED" Initialed Savage Model 1899 Lever Action Rifle with Deep Relief Carved Stock and Matching Monogrammed Case Presented to Detroit Automaker Horace Dodge, Co-Founder of the Dodge Brothers Motor Company

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $60,000 - $95,000

Important, FRESH and Historic Factory Engraved, Gold Inlaid and "HED" Initialed Savage Model 1899 Lever Action Rifle with Deep Relief Carved Stock and Matching Monogrammed Case Presented to Detroit Automaker Horace Dodge, Co-Founder of the Dodge Brothers Motor Company

Manufacturer: Savage Arms Corporation
Model: 1899
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 303 savage
Barrel: 20 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: relief carved highly figu
Item Views: 6790
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 42
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun

This is a superb example of an exhibition quality Savage Model 1899 lever action rifle showcasing the talents of a period master artisan and is attributed to Detroit area automotive pioneer and co-founder of Dodge Brothers Motor Company Horace Elgin Dodge. Dodge's H.E.D. initials appear as a raised gold monogram on the underside of the receiver and on the lid of the accompanying case. Note that a Savage Model 1899 rifle (serial number 184078), which was once part of the Wes Adams Collection and exhibits similar high quality embellishments (e.g., stock carving, engraving, gold inlay, large gold monogram on the underside of the receiver), is attributed to Horace's brother, John. The inseparable Dodge brothers had for 10 years worked as a supplier for the Ford Motor Company before terminating their contract with Ford in order to manufacture their own line of automobiles. Historians have argued that the brothers supplied virtually every part to the famed Model T as well as redesigned key components. Unable to pay cash for services rendered, Henry Ford paid the Dodge brothers in Ford Motor Company stock. The brothers sold their Ford Motor Company stock back to Henry Ford in 1919 for $25 million. When asked why the brothers left Ford, John purportedly remarked, "Just think of all the Ford owners who will someday want an automobile." The brothers dreamed big, prepared to go head to head with America's leading car manufacturer. The Dodge Brothers Motor Company debuted its first automobile, a four-cylinder touring car, in 1914. Nearly 250 cars were sold in the company's first year of sales. The following year the company sold 45,000 vehicles. Dodge Brothers cars gained early fame with the U.S. military when in 1916 General John Pershing used Dodge cars in the search of Pancho Villa, and then-Lieutenant George Patton used three Dodge cars in the first mechanized cavalry charge in U.S. history. Patton later stated his preference for Dodge trucks during World War II. The Dodge brothers were unconventional members to the Detroit elite. Speaking to the legacy of the brothers, Michigan historian Greg Kowalski said, "I firmly believe that if it weren’t for John and Horace Dodge there really would be no Hamtramck today, it would have been absorbed by the city of Detroit. They changed the whole destiny of the community. The Dodge brothers were fascinating characters. They were two of the most colorful people in the history of this city, they were loyal, devoted brothers. They were also brawlers and drinkers and did all kinds of wild things. They would get into fights and all kinds of trouble….But Grosse Pointe society would have nothing to do with them, because of all the trouble that they had in the bars of Detroit. But by pretty much underwriting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, they bought their way into high society in the Detroit area." While attending a New York City auto expo in January 1920, the Dodge brothers contracted the flu and pneumonia. John died that month and Hoarce passed away nearly a year later on December 10, 1920. Walter Chrysler, founder of the Chrysler Corporation, purchased the Dodge company in 1928 for $170 million, making Chrysler the world's third largest automaker overnight. The rifle was manufactured in 1913 and is equipped with a pinned blade front sight, folding two leaf rear sight and tang mounted Lyman folding peep sight. The left side of the barrel is marked with the two-line address/1909 patent information followed by "-SAVAGE," "HI-PRESSURE STEEL" and ".303-SAVAGE." The top of the barrel is matted. Engraved leaves adorn the barrel at the breech. The receiver and takedown ring feature full coverage vine, fruit and leaf engraving on a matte background. The engraving is repeated on the front half of the casehardened lever. The underside of the receiver features a raised large monogram: "HED." The sides of the receiver feature raised gold inlaid woodland game scenes. The left side depicts a hunter stalking two bears, and the right side depicts a stag and doe. The serial number is marked ahead of the lever in gold. The screw heads, safety, takedown button and cocking indictor are gold plated. The screw heads are also floral blossom engraved. The bolt has jeweled sides and is matted on the top with a relief leaf engraving at the rear. The lever bar is jeweled. The trigger has checkering on the front and stippled sides. The highly figured Schnabel forearm and pistol grip stock features a beautiful deep relief floral carving that matches the floral engraving on the receiver. The front section of the forearm is checkered, and the top of the pistol grips features incised scrollwork. The buttstock is fitted with a Savage logo embossed and checkered hard rubber buttplate. The leather bound takedown case has the monogram "H.E.D." on the lid. The case is lined in royal purple velvet.

Rating Definition:

Excellent. The rifle retains 97% original blue finish showing some minor spotting at the muzzle and some minor thinning (mostly on the receiver). Most of the gold wash remains. The lever retains 98% plus of the original case colors. The wood is very fine with some minor pressure dents and scratches. Most of the pressure dents are located on the underside of the buttstock. There are a couple of blemishes in the overall crisp checkering. The carving is crisp. Mechanically excellent. The case is fine showing some handling marks and wear to the leather and typical high spot wear on the lining. A true work of firearm art that is attributed to American automaker pioneer Horace Dodge. "Their spirit lives on." Provenance: Robert M. Lee Collection.

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