Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3008: Winchester 1866 Rifle Early Production

Auction Date: September 9, 2018

Extraordinary Inscribed Early Production Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle with Desirable Henry Patent Barrel Address and Fancy Wood

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $65,000 - $95,000

Extraordinary Inscribed Early Production Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle with Desirable Henry Patent Barrel Address and Fancy Wood

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1866
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 RF
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue/brass
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 2341
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 14
Class: Antique

Manufactured in 1868. This rifle has the Second Model features which include flared receiver edge at the junction with the forearm and single upper tang screw. The serial number is stamped in block numerals on the lower tang behind the trigger. The rifle has a full octagon barrel and full length magazine. The barrel has a steel dovetail mounted front sight and Henry style folding leaf rear sight with 900 yard center notch and elevator bar stop screw. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the early marking "HENRY'S-PATENT-OCT. 16. 1860/KING'S-PATENT-MARCH 29. 1866." in two lines ahead of the rear sight. The left side plate is inscribed "E.C. Moore/- from -/H.C. Crane" in light script engraving. Published in 1887, the “Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Convention of the American Institute of Architects” lists both E.C. Moore and H.C. Crane as honorary members for life (contributed $100 to the library fund) and living in Yonkers, New York. The convention was held in New York City from December 1-2, 1886. The name H.C. Crane is linked to a late 1860s New York railroad report. Crane is listed as the treasurer for the Adirondack Company, a railway that originally connected Saratoga Springs to North Creek, New York. The name E.C. Moore is linked to a civil engineer and turn of the century construction company building railway lines in the northeast. Perhaps this rifle was presented to Moore by a grateful Crane at the conclusion of a collaboration between the two men in a railway construction project. The rifle has the distinctive brass forearm cap, receiver and Henry style curved buttplate. The early style forearm cap has an integral sling swivel boss. The forearm is secured by a screw that passes through the lower part of the barrel from left to right. The buttplate has a sharply pointed heel with hinged brass trapdoor. The hammer has hand-cut, borderless knurling on the spur and lacks a half-cock notch. Factory sling swivels are mounted on the forearm cap and stock. The butt trap contains a four-piece steel cleaning rod with brass tip. The stock and forearm are highly figured, fancy grade walnut with a piano finish. Fancy grade walnut stocks and forearms are very rare on Model 1866 rifles. The barrel, magazine and barrel bands have a blue finish. The loading gate is a fiery niter blue. The sling swivels, hammer, trigger and lever have a muted color casehardened finish.

Rating Definition:

Excellent. This rare Model 1866 rifle is all original and retains 85% plus of the original blue finish on the barrel, magazine and barrel band. Wear is limited to some finish loss on the barrel edges and some tiny spots of age discoloration on the barrel flats. The barrel legend is crisp. The rear sight has sharp markings. The loading gate retains nearly 90% of the fire blue finish. The hammer, trigger and lever have 60% of the muted original case colors remaining; the sides of the hammer have some cycling marks and the bottom of the lever shows some discoloration and age spotting. The brass forearm cap, receiver and crescent buttplate are in excellent condition. The brass has a beautiful, untouched, patina. The lightly cut inscription on the left side-plate is crisp. The side plate joints are perfect. The surfaces of the forearm cap, receiver and buttplate are free from scratches or handling marks, The highly figured fancy walnut stock and forearm remain in excellent condition and retain 95% of the high polish piano finish. Wear is limited to a few very insignificant handling and storage marks. This is an exceptional example of an early production Winchester Model 1866 rifle with very rare fancy walnut stock and forearm and inscribed receiver.

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