Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 16: Engraved, Inscribed and Gold Plated Winchester Model 1866 Rifle

Auction Date: September 6, 2019

Inscribed, Gold-Plated, Factory Engraved, Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $25,000 - $35,000

Inscribed, Gold-Plated, Factory Engraved, Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1866
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 RF
Barrel: 24 inch
Finish: Blue/gold-plated
Stock: varnished highly figured
Item Views: 7198
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 15
Class: Antique

This is a special order, factory engraved Winchester Model 1866 rifle that was manufactured c. 1869. This rifle has the Third Model receiver with flare at the junction with the forearm and serial number stamped on the lower tang behind the trigger. The barrel has a folding leaf rear sight with 900 yard center notch and elevation bar stop-screw. The first style forearm cap is secured by a screw passing through the lower part of the barrel. The upper receiver tang is factory drilled and tapped. The Henry style crescent buttplate has a sharply pointed heel and hinged trap door. Special order factory sling swivels are fitted to the forearm cap and stock. The brass forearm cap, receiver and buttplate are gold plated. The barrel and magazine have a blue finish, the loading gate is niter blue and the hammer, trigger and lever are color casehardened. The stock and forearm are deluxe, fancy grade, "XXX" walnut with a piano finish. The stock grade "XXX" is stamped on the left side of the lower tang. The serial number is stamped in block numerals on the lower tang behind the trigger, in the upper tang inlet of the stock and on the inside of the buttplate below the trap door. All of the visible serial numbers match. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped: "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED MARCH 29. 1866. OCTOBER 16. 1860." in two lines ahead of the rear sight. The forearm cap, top, sides and bottom of the receiver, cartridge elevator and buttplate heel are decorated with factory Germanic scroll and floral engraving on a punch-dot background with fine border work. Very similar engraving on Model 1866 rifle, serial number 36259 is illustrated on page 72 of "WINCHESTER ENGRAVING" by R.L. Wilson and attributed to Conrad or John Ulrich. The panel on the left side plate is inscribed with the script initials: "R.C. Mc.C.".

Rating Definition:

Fine. The blue on the barrel and magazine has aged to a smooth plum patina. The barrel edges are sharp and the Winchester legend is crisp. The intricate and flawlessly executed scroll and border engraving on the forearm cap, receiver and buttplate is deep and sharp. The loading gate retains 40% of the fire blue finish. The hammer, trigger and lever have a smooth silver-gray patina. The brass components were replated long ago and retain significant amounts of gilt in protected areas. The stock has a professionally repaired crack in the left wrist and has been professionally refinished. The highly figured, "XXX" walnut stock and forearm remain in very good condition with much of the period piano finish with minimal handling and storage marks. This is a handsome example of a scarce, deluxe, inscribed, gold-plated, special order Model 1866 rifle with Ulrich factory engraving.

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