Page 27 - Auction84-Book2
P. 27

 Historic Documented Winchester 1876 Centennial Lever Action Rifle Used by Noted Author, Adventurer and Explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley
   In August 1879 to June 1884, Stanley returned to the Congo and oversaw the construction of
a road between the Congo and the Stanley Pool (now Malebo Pool) and also saw the launch of steamboats on the upper portion of the river. His work led to the creation of the Congo Free State under the personal sovereignty of Leopold.
Stanley’s subsequent adventures are recounted in “In Darkest Africa; Or, The Quest, Rescue, and Retreat of Emin, Governor of Equatoria” published in 1890 and “The Autobiography of Sir Henry Morton Stanley” completed and published in 1909 after his death. Like “The Congo and the Founding of Its Free State,” both of these books include references to his use of Winchester rifles in conflict with various groups in Africa. Notably, page
38 of the former notes “Messrs Watson & Co., of 4 Pall Mall, packed up 50 Winchester repeaters and 50,000 Winchester cartridges.”“In Darkest Africa” records his last major African adventure when he was sent as the leader
of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition in 1886 to Equatoria in the southern Sudan. He was given the Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold for his service to the Belgian king. After returning to England, he married and adopted a young boy. He was a Liberal Unionist in Parliament in 1895 to 1900 and was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1899. He died in 1904. His contemporary British historian Sidney Low wrote, “The
map of Africa is a monument to Stanley.” He was a classic Victorian man
of action and would have seemed right at place in an Arthur Conan Doyle adventure tale like “The Lost World.” To hold such an artifact spurs the imagination of the true story and legend of one of the last great explorers, cutting his way through an unforgiving and unknown environment, with the full knowledge that death was behind every corner by beast or by man, and this very rifle his only hope for survival.
The rifle has a nickel silver blade front sight, “1876” marked notch and folding ladder rear sight graduated out to 1,000 yards, the two-line Winchester and King’s patent marking ahead of the rear sight, “WATSON/4. PALL MALL/LONDON” inscribed on the top of the barrel at the breech, London proof marks on the left side of the barrel and the frame at the breech, dust cover with knurled “thumb print” and smooth edges, “041” marked and screw affixed dust cover rail, “MODEL 1876.” on the upper tang, “8512” on the lower tang, smooth stock and forearm, and a five-piece cleaning rod in the stock compartment. The .45-75 W.C.F. was the original chambering for this model and the only chambering offered until the .45- 60 and .50 Express were introduced to the line in 1879, so caliber markings were not necessary.
CONDITION: Fine. The rifle shows genuine signs of use and retains 40% original blue finish. The finish is concentrated most strongly on the frame and rear third of the barrel and has faded to a smooth gray and brown patina on the balance. There are some patches of minor pitting and oxidation that you would expect to see on a rifle that spent years of service in Africa. Light original case colors remain on the hammer and lever,
and the loading gate retains an impressive 80% plus of the original niter blue finish. The retailer and factory markings remain legible. The wood
is also fine and has a dark oiled finish, a large number of mild dings and scratches throughout, and some slight flakes mainly at the toe. It remains mechanically excellent. The British explorers of Africa are famous for their double barrel elephant guns, but it was Winchesters that Henry Morton Stanley’s men depended on to defend their lives against native warriors. While a powerful express rifle was useful if facing a charging elephant,
a Winchester 1876 provided Stanley with a considerable advantage in firepower when outnumbered, so it is no wonder that he trusted Winchester 1876s with his life.
Estimate: 40,000 - 65,000

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