Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1028: John Ulrich Engraved Winchester Deluxe Model 1876 Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Rare and Magnificent John Ulrich Engraved and Signed Winchester Deluxe Model 1876 Rifle with Factory Letter

Estimated Price: $37,500 - $55,000

Rare and Magnificent John Ulrich Engraved and Signed Winchester Deluxe Model 1876 Rifle with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1876
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 45-60 WCF
Barrel: 28 inch octagon
Finish: blue/nickel
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 762
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 29
Class: Antique

This is an extraordinary factory engraved Winchester deluxe Second Model 1876 lever action rifle correctly signed by Master Engraver John Ulrich. Ulrich only signed his best pieces. The receiver sides and top are decorated with Ulrich's distinctive scroll and border engraving on a punch-dot background. The left side plate is engraved with a highly detailed game scene that features a whitetail buck, and the right side plate is engraved with an open ribbon. The scrollwork continues on the top of the receiver, dust cover, upper tang, bottom of the cartridge elevator, buttplate heel and the sides of the forearm cap. "J. ULRICH" is stamped in tiny letters on the lower tang behind the trigger. The rifle has a blued full octagon barrel. The tip of the half-magazine, forearm cap, receiver, dust cover, cartridge elevator, bolt, hammer, trigger, lever, and shotgun buttplate are nickel plated. The forearm and pistol grip stock are deluxe, fancy grade, highly figured walnut with style H checkering. The pistol grip has an ebony inlay. The barrel has a folding combination front sight and a Lyman two leaf folding rear sight. The front leaf has a wide v-notch and the rear leaf has a flat top and triangle. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the two-line legend "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT/KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29. 1866. OCTOBER 16. 1860." ahead of the rear sight. The caliber designation "CAL. 45-60" is hand engraved on the top of the barrel between the rear sight and the receiver. "45-60" is roll-stamped on the bottom of the cartridge elevator in script letters. "MODEL.1876." is roll-stamped on the upper receiver tang. The serial number is stamped on the lower tang behind the lever catch. The lower tang is also marked with the assembly number “210,” “XX” and “O” and “S” inspector marks. The upper tang mortise of the stock also has the assembly number “210” along with the letter “P.” The inside of toe of the buttplate is stamped “17.” The toe of the buttstock under the buttplate is also stamped with the number “17.” Accompanying this rifle is a factory 2012 dated letter. It is listed by serial number 18464 as a rifle in 45-60 with octagon barrel, plain trigger, half magazine and full nickel finish and a warehouse date of 8 November 1881, a shipment date of 8 November 1881 and a repair and return date of 25 August 1896. There is no mention of the engraving. A second factory letter is also included. This 2012 dated letter is for a Model 1876, serial number 18463, which lists a rifle in 45-60 with an octagon barrel, set trigger, checkered pistol grip stock, shotgun butt, engraved 5 and half nickel finish. Rifle 18463 has been identified as having an octagon barrel, full magazine, full nickel finish, plain stock, set trigger and no engraving. This description does not conform to the records for this rifle. It is clear and verified that both 1876s, numbers 18463 and 18464, exhibit a factory recording error where order data for the rifles was transposed. Except for the plain trigger, the listing for serial number 18463 matches this Ulrich engraved rifle’s configuration. Both rifles were shipped on 8 November 1881 and the information was mistakenly recorded by the ledger keeper on the other rifle’s line. This is easily seen on the included copy of the factory ledger page. We have seen these transposed errors before. The writer is 100% certain that this is an authentic Ulrich engraved and signed Winchester Model 1876!

Rating Definition:

Very fine. The rifle retains 60% of the blue finish on the barrel and has developed an attractive plum-blue patina. The forearm cap, receiver, dust cover, hammer, lever and trigger have more than 80% of the nickel plated finish. The buttplate shows slightly more wear and retains 70% of the nickel finish. The flawlessly executed scrollwork, borders and game scene are crisp and John Ulrich's signature stamp is fully legible. The highly figured fancy grain stock and forearm are in good condition. The checkering on the pistol grip and forearm shows moderate handling wear. This is a magnificent example of a scarce Deluxe Winchester Model 1876 rifle with the rarely encountered combination of blue and nickel plated finish in addition to engraving signed by master engraver John Ulrich. A true investment grade firearm of the highest rarity.

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