Image Lot Price Description



SN 84. Cal. 44 WCF. 24″ bbl. Full magazine. Blue finish with case color hammer and lever. Single set trigger. Straight grain American walnut stocks with crescent buttplate. Four piece steel cleaning rod in butt. Bbl has standard sights, rear sight is mounted in the reverse position. Early 73 Winchesters utilized Model 66 bbls, until it was determined that the rifling would not stabilize the bullet. This is one reason why very few Model 1873 rifles were shipped in the first two years of production, until the rifling problem was resolved. The 66 bbl had the rear-sight mortise centered a 1-1/4″ from front of receiver, necessitating mounting the sight in reverse. Bbl shows correct 2-line Winchester address. Early 73’s had no cal mark on the bbl or the elevator. The magazine tube cap is of the first type and is screwed into the end of magazine tube. Receiver is also of the first type, with no tang markings and a square cornered mortise for the elevator. The rear edge of magazine mortise of receiver on both sides has a distinct re-curve, which his correct. Model and SN mark on lower tang is of the first type with “Model 1873” over “84” hand engraved, rather than stamped. The dust cover is also of the first type, with 1/2″ raised oval checkered thumb-piece. Loading gate is affixed to the right sideplate with a screw mounted from the exterior, which is also a feature of an early first Model. Firing pin has a bushing, another first Model feature. There is no provision for a trigger block safety on the lower tang or on lever, which is typical for this model. Assembly no. 50 appears on left side of lower tang under stock. Assembly no. 50 is also stamped on upper tang mortise of stock and on interior toe of buttplate. Rifle has standard single set trigger. With a survival rate estimated at less than 10% for early 73 Winchesters, this rifle represents a very fine example of one of the most difficult of Winchester Model 1873s to obtain. Accompanying this rifle is a Cody Firearms Museum letter, confirming all of the features and showing shipment on January 17, 1874, order number 895. There is also a repair and return on August 12, 1888, order number 19256. No evidence remains of what that repair could have been. Also accompanying this rifle is a copy of a handwritten letter from Tommy Rholes to the consignor Mr. John Harris, dated 1/17/2011 in which he states, “I first got number 84 about 1970, and did sell it around 1975. I was able to get it back around 1977 and decided then to keep it.” Included is a photograph of the wall in Mr. Rholes’ gun vault showing the 2 empty spaces once occupied by number 84 and number 139. CONDITION: Fine. Bbl and magazine tube retain about 30% of orig blue finish that has blended overall to a pleasing smooth plumb-brown patina, with some high point wear and a few minor stains. Muzzle is sharp and un-dented. Sights are very good. Bbl address is sharp. Bore is slightly frosty with very strong rifling. Receiver retains about 80% of the orig bright-blue finish with some light scratching overall, and some roughness on the right forward bottom edge and in front of loading gate. Receiver shows striation marks through the blue. Early 73 receivers were made of forged iron and these striations show the grain of the iron. Receiver screws are unmolested. Thumbprint dust cover retains 90% bright-blue finish with some scratches that have turned plumb-brown. Screw is unmolested. Thumb piece checkering is sharp. Extractor on bolt shows generous traces of orig blue finish. Elevator is a deep mustard-brown patina with only some small scratches. Hammer has sharp checkering and shows traces of case color on both sides. Front of hammer shows vivid case color where it has been protected. Lever is a smooth gray-brown patina overall with some staining and traces of case color near the hinge. Lower tang fits receiver perfectly. Model and cal mark is very sharp and crisp. Set trigger functions perfectly. Stocks are fine, full-sized, and uncleaned, showing only very minor handling marks overall. Stocks retain nearly all of their orig oil finish. Crescent buttplate is a smooth silver-gray patina with some very slight roughness on heel. Forend cap shows 50% bright-blue finish with some scratching on bottom side. Balance is a plumb-brown patina. This is a rare opportunity for a collector of Model 1873 Winchesters to obtain one of the finest examples known to collectors, that was part of the Tommy Rholes Collection for many years, until it was transferred to his dear friend John Harris, who is a noted 1st Model 73 Collector. It is very fortunate for collectors that Mr. Harris has decided to make this gun available for the first time to the collectors fraternity. 50678-1 TEP (125,000-150,000) – Lot 4045

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Auction: Firearms - October 2016
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.