June 25-28, 2018 Firearms
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 6/25/2018
Exceptional Model 66 with engraving so special and rare as to be completely unique in its presentation. Rifle has a 24-1/4" octagon barrel, full magazine, half nickel front sight and the scarce 900 yard musket style ladder rear sight with tension spring mortise in top flat. Top flat has the Winchester and King’s improvement markings. Mounted with extraordinary, triple X burl and flame grain, center crotch cut, uncheckered American walnut with straight stock and crescent buttplate with trap. The bottom of the stock and forend cap have sling eyes of a type not previously encountered by this cataloger but are, without question, factory original to this rifle. The trigger is also unusual with its long, thin, rounded tip generally found only on engraved and special rifles. Deluxe wood is rarely ever encountered on the early brass frame rifles and this matching forearm and stock are even an exception to that rule with their extraordinary matching flame and shell grain. Receiver, forend cap and buttplate tang are engraved by John Ulrich, possibly by his brother, Conrad, but attributed to John because of the border patterns. Their work was created simultaneously and in some instances is nearly indistinguishable one from the other unless they are signed. Unfortunately this work of art is not signed or at least a signature has not been located as of this writing. Engraving consists of the extraordinarily rare four vignettes on each side of receiver, two of which on each side are in deep relief which, again, is also extraordinarily rare. Vignettes consist of a standing bull elk in a forested and field scene on left side plate with a bugling bull elk in front side panel. The two smaller vignettes are of cow elk, all executed in exceptional detail. Right side also has four vignettes, two of which are also in deep relief. Right sideplate has an extraordinarily detailed standing buck deer in a forest scene with a standing bull elk in a mountain scene in right front side panel. Two smaller vignettes are of cow elk, one standing & one reclining. Remainder of entire receiver, top tang, forend cap and buttplate tang have full coverage deep chiseled foliate arabesque patterns with extremely fine punch dot background and very detailed shading. Bottom of carrier is engraved to match with mirror image spear point border at rear edge of carrier and opening, with feather borders on each side of opening. The large vignettes and front edges of receiver have the stylized zigzag border which is also around the entire top and rear edge of receiver. There are several areas of unusual checkered engraving as background work for some of the scrolls. There are two very unusual lion’s paws & forelegs, one on either side of the hammer slot at rear edge of receiver. All three of these engraved items; receiver, forend cap and buttplate, are gold plated. Flat areas were better able to be polished and therefore have retained their gold much better than the unpolished engraved areas. The serial number was observed in its normal position on bottom tang back of the lever lock, inside top tang channel of the buttstock and inside toe of the buttplate. Left side of the lower tang under the wood is stamped “XXX”. Accompanied by a Cody Firearms Museum fact sheet which identifies this rifle with octagon barrel, “XXX” stock, oil finish, engraved in gold, shipped May 6th, 1878 to Order No. 11739. This rifle is pictured on page 146 of "Winchester Engraving", Wilson, with both sides of receiver in full detail with the attribution to John Ulrich. It is also pictured, likewise in full detail on page 114 of "The Winchester Book", Madis, 1985 Edition. This exquisite gun was made around 1872 (based on the serial number range) and is believed to have been part of the Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876 and so stated in book of Winchester engraving by R.L.Wilson. A very special opportunity to obtain a highly desirable Winchester work of art. Very fine condition. Barrel and magazine tube retain 80-90% thinning orig blue with edge wear and areas of the magazine tube turning plum. Receiver retains 60-70% strong original gold plating with the loss areas from the shaded and punch dot background areas. Flat surfaces, being better polished, retained the plating far better. Forend cap retains 60-70% original gold with some silver showing through on back edge. Buttplate retains traces of gold around edges with exposed areas a dark mustard patina. Lever and hammer retain strong case colors, only lightly faded on sides, turning grey on top edge of hammer and outer edge of lever. Wood is sound with light nicks and scratches and retains most of its orig factory oil finish. Mechanics are crisp, bright shiny bore with scattered pitting. From the Ray Bentley Collection.
Barrel Length
.44 RF
FFL Status
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $140,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $165,000.00
Estimate: $275,000 - $375,000
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Thursday, June 28, 2018.
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