May 28 & 29, 2020 Extraordinary, Sporting, & Collector Firearms
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/28/2020
Born Phoebe Ann Moses on August 13, 1860, in Woodland, Darke County, Ohio, the girl who later became "Little Miss Sure Shot", Annie Oakley, had what she later termed "an inherent love for firearms and hunting". By the time she was twelve, Phoebe Ann was supporting her impoverished family (Quakers who had migrated to Ohio from Pennsylvania) by shooting game and catching fish for the local markets and restaurants. Life began well for Phoebe, living with her parents and two sisters on a thriving farm in a picturesque setting in Ohio when in 1866 her father was caught in a terrible winter storm while tending crops and cattle. Suffering severe trauma and hypothermia, he died that February. As a result the family lost the farm and moved to another on a cash lease for two years. Necessity and Phoebe's natural love for the outdoors led her to learn trapping and shooting. She recalls in her autobiography: "I remember how I struggled to master the family's 40-inch cap and ball Kentucky rifle, which I finally did, much to my pride, I was eight years old at the time". At age ten, the family split up and Phoebe was hired as a live-in helper on the farm of a couple she later identifies as the "He-Wolf" and "She-Wolf". Enduring a nightmare of abuse from the couple, Phoebe was able to escape three years later, and returned home to her mother and sisters. In 1881 a well known traveling professional exhibition shooter, Irish born Frank Butler came to Cincinnati. A Cincinnati Hotel owner named Jack Frost who had been purchasing game from Phoebe arranged a match between her and Butler. In Frank Butler's own words: "I never shot better in my life, but never did a person make more impossible shots than that little girl" "She killed 23 and I killed 21". "It was her first big match, and my first defeat". Phoebe Ann Moses was on her way to becoming history's most famous markswoman. Over the course of the next year a relationship grew and on June 22, 1882, Phoebe Ann Moses became Mrs. Frank E. Butler. Over the course of the next three years Mr. & Mrs. Frank Butler traveled the country putting on shooting exhibitions at county fairs and other events. In 1885 the couple got their big break when one of the exhibition shooters for Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show passed away and young Phoebe filled the bill. She adopted the stage name of Annie Oakley, the exact origin of which remains a mystery. Sitting Bull, after seeing her shoot during an exhibition in St. Paul Minnesota, adopted her into the Sioux tribe, giving her the name "Watanya Cicilla" or "Little Sure Shot". Over the next 17 years, Annie became an international sensation traveling the United States and Europe demonstrating amazing feats of shooting skills with the Wild West Show. During the Wild West's second tour of Europe, she performed her most famous feat of marksmanship: shooting the ash off a cigarette held by the future Kaiser Wilhelm. In later years it was said she missed a unique opportunity to eliminate the possibly of World War I, and wrote the Kaiser requesting a second shot! Annie Oakley died on November 3, 1926. After 44 years of marriage, the grieving Frank Butler could not eat or swallow, and died 18 days later on November 21. Being offered is a unique opportunity to acquire a most important investment grade firearm. This Stevens factory custom made single shot rifle is high relief engraved with scroll work covering both sides of the frame. Left side of frame features the name: "ANNIE OAKLEY" and the right side: "NUTLEY N.J." Nutley, New Jersey was a small pleasant village convenient to New York City and the location of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler's first home. It was custom built to their specifications. The couple moved in during Christmas 1893. The rifle has a 28" octagon to round barrel and is chambered in .25-20 caliber. Top barrel flat is marked in two lines at the breech: "J.STEVENS A.& T. CO./CHICOPEE FALLS MASS. U.S.A. PAT. APR. 17.94." Left side barrel flat is marked at breech: "25.20". Large German silver blade front sight and "Rocky Mountain" style rear barrel sight. Gold plated frame and lever. The barrel, hammer, trigger, screws, and falling breech block are richly blued. Full figured deluxe walnut stock and forearm is finely checkered with ribbons and fleur-de-lis. Schnabel forearm tip. Beautifully detailed checkered hard rubber buttplate featuring a large stag and marked in banners: "STEVENS, CHICOPEE*FALLS MASS. U.S.A." Pictured on pages 120, 134, and 137 in R.L. Wilson's book, "BUFFALO BILLS WILD WEST / AN AMERICAN LEGEND", a copy of this work is included with the sale. CONDITION: Near mint overall. 98% original gold plating remains. 98% original heavy blue remains. Wood is excellent showing modest wear with a few light scuffs. Bore is near mint. Action operates flawlessly. Overall a most attractive, high condition, and historically important investment grade firearm. -MKS-
Name
Value
Accessories
Barrel Length
28"
Caliber/Bore
.25-20
Drop at Comb
Drop at Heel
FFL Status
Antique
Length of Pull
Manufacturer
Stevens
Model
44
Paperwork
Book
Serial Number
25640
Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $100,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $516,000.00
Estimate: $200,000 - $400,000
Number Bids: 30
Auction closed on Friday, May 29, 2020.
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