Lot #1015
Lot #1017

Lot 1016: Gold Panel Scene Engraved Winchester 1866 Lever Action Rifle

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: August 26, 2023

Lot 1016: Gold Panel Scene Engraved Winchester 1866 Lever Action Rifle

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: August 26, 2023

Estimated Price: $95,000 - $160,000
Price Realized:

Stunning, Gold Gilt, Deluxe Factory Panel Scene Engraved Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1866
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 Henry RF
Barrel: 24 3/8 inch octagon
Finish: blue/gold
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1388
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 16
Class: Antique
Description:

This beautiful Model 1866 lever action rifle was manufactured in 1874 and features exhibition grade factory engraving from Conrad or John Ulrich as well as a gold gilt frame, forend cap, and buttplate. Other gilt, factory panel scene engraved Winchester Model 1866s are known to have been used as factory exhibition guns in the late 19th century, including in the famous Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, a celebration of the centennial of the Declaration of Independence and the first World's Fair held in the U.S. Their serial numbers span across several years into the early 1870s. Those that letter often indicate they were not sold until after the 1876 World's Fair or in some instances not until after additional World's Fairs such as the Exposition Universelle of 1878 in Paris indicating that many of these guns remained in the factory's exhibition collection for many years before being sold or used as presentation pieces. Rock Island Auction Company has sold several confirmed exhibition Model 1866s in recent years, but these gold plated, factory engraved Model 1866 rifles are all very rare. This rifle features circular buck scenes on the side plates, a "sand dollar" design on the right and left sides at the front of the frame, beautiful entwining scrollwork with punched backgrounds, shell accents, border designs, and an elongated oval panel on the top of the frame. The blued barrel features a German silver blade front sight, notch and folding ladder rear sight graduated out to 900 yards, and the two-line Winchester address and King's improvement patent marking on top ahead of the rear sight. The lower tang has the serial number in block numerals in an engraved banner behind the lever thumb screw, and an "L" is stamped ahead of the thumb screw. It is fitted with a full-length, blued magazine tube. The loading gate and screws are niter blue, the hammer is casehardened, and the lever and sling swivel mounts are blued. The upper tang is tapped for mounting a peep sight and has screws in place. The forearm has very attractive figure concentrated towards the tip, and the straight wrist stock has attractive grain and contains a takedown cleaning rod in the butt trap. Provenance: The Richard Seelinger Collection; The Greg Lampe Collection

Rating Definition:

Exceptionally fine. The engraving and markings remain sharp throughout. The barrel and magazine tube retains 85% plus of the bright original blue finish and exhibit only some minor edge wear and some light spotting above the forend. The loading gate and screws also retain nearly 80% of their original bright niter blue finish. The lever retains 75% plus of the original blue finish. The hammer retains 90% of the attractive original case colors. The gilt brass frame, forend cap, and buttplate retain 85% of the original gold gilt with some fading mainly on the frame and attractive aged patina on the exposed brass. The wood is very fine and has the noted attractive figure on the forend, a few minor scratches and dings, strong original finish, and nice grain. The firing pins and extractor were removed long ago reportedly to prevent the gun from being used, but the rifle otherwise remains mechanically fine. This is a beautiful Winchester Model 1866 lever action rifle and very well may have been used by the factory as an exhibition or presentation piece given the extent and quality of the engraving and the special gilt finish. If not, it must have been ordered by a very discerning and well-to-do buyer who wanted the best of the best.



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