This rifle was manufactured in 1890 per the Winchester Collectors Association and was elaborately embellished for a member of the Russian nobility in the period. The receiver front flats feature a relief cut escutcheon of the Imperial Arms of the House of Romanov/Imperial Russian on the right and a relief "coronet/CA" cypher on the left. The monogram is that of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia (1857-1905), a member of the famous Romanov family as the son of Emperor Alexander II, younger brother of Emperor Alexander III, and nephew of Emperor Nicholas II, the last Russian emperor/tsar. Sergei, also spelled Serge in the period, begins with the letter C in Russian. Another of his brothers, Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia, famously toured the United States and hunted with George Armstrong Custer in the 1870s. In 1891, around the time this would have been embellished, Sergei was just beginning to serve as Governor-General of Moscow. He became a member of the State Council three years later and was promoted to lieutenant general and commander of the Moscow military district in 1896. He remained governor-general until the month before his assassination by bombing by a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and was still commander of the Moscow military district at that time. The embellishment was clearly done by a very talented Russian engraver in the "American style" . The receiver, dust cover, forend cap and buttplate tang feature a wonderful relief engraved foliate scroll pattern on a punch dot gold plated background. The receiver side plates feature relief engraved vignette depicting a bear in a woodland scene on the right and a scene of a Russian hunter shooting a bear on the left with a wooded background. Matching scrollwork extends to the brass cartridge elevator. The rifle is fitted with a dovetail blade front sight, an elevation adjustable buckhorn rear sight and a Marble tang peep sight. British proofs are present. The top barrel flat is stamped with the two-line address/patent dates marking ahead of the rear sight and "44 WCF" at the breech. The lower tang has the serial number. The upgraded highly figured walnut forearm and straight grip stock feature multi-point checkering. The buttstock is fitted with a trapdoor buttplate (cleaning rod not included).
Fine as elaborately embellished at the time of presentation. The barrel and magazine tube retain 40% original blue finish with the balance a smooth brown patina. The remaining surfaces have an overall bright appearance along with nearly all of the gold remaining in the crisp engraving. The wood is also fine with slight filler at the toe, some minor handling marks and crisp checkering overall. Mechanically excellent.
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