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SN 79868. Cal. 44 RF Henry. Wonderful gold washed ’66 rifle with 24-1/4″ oct bbl, full magazine, half nickel front sight and 900 yd. ladder rear sight. Top flat of bbl, forward of rear seat has the 2-line Winchester and King’s address and patent dates. Mounted with very nicely figured, uncheckered, flame grain American walnut with straight stock and crescent buttplate that has a trap containing a 4-pc brass and iron cleaning rod. Left side of lower tang, under the wood is marked “OXX”. Left side of upper tang is marked three times with the microscopic rectangular signature stamp of master engraver Conrad F. Ulrich with another signature just behind the trigger slot. Reportedly there are other signature stamps on front face of receiver under the forearm. Forearm was not removed to determine this fact. Top tang channel of buttstock is marked with four digits of SN “6098” or “6088” and inside toe of buttplate is marked with four digits of SN “4855” indicating that the buttstock and buttplate are replacements. Bottom of buttstock and forend cap have factory sling swivels.

This rifle is one of Mr. Ulrich’s most detailed and intricately engraved pieces of work known. The receiver is fully engraved on sides with the left sideplate having the large vignette morbidly depicting a crocodile devouring a native child with the child’s mother and father staring on helplessly, all set in a detailed savanna scene. This vignette is surrounded by scalloped borders. The area that is part of the rear edge of left side panel and left rear flat have a saddled horse and a gentleman carrying a bucket incorporated within the intricate foliate arabesque patterns. The area of the forward edge of left side panel and receiver has the very detailed figure of a gentleman holding a rifle with his dog incorporated within the foliate arabesque patterns. The left front side flat has the scalloped bordered vignette of a buck and doe deer feeding in a very detailed forest scene. The right sideplate depicts the scalloped border vignette of two hounds and a deceased buck deer in the foreground with a hunter holding a rifle in the background, all set in a detailed forest scene. The area at the back edge of the sideplate and rear side flat have the very highly detailed figures of charging bull buffalo and a standing grizzly bear incorporated within the foliate arabesque patterns. The flat above loading gate opening has a skulking mountain lion incorporated within the foliate arabesque patterns and the right front side flat is engraved with the scallop bordered vignette of a recumbent doe and standing buck deer in a very detailed field scene. The very intricate foliate arabesque patterns are in semi-relief with extremely fine pearled background. Matching foliate arabesque patterns extend over top side flats and top edges of side plates and top & bottom tangs. Front edge of the receiver is engraved with deep, sharply pointed scallop patterns with matching patterns on the forend cap. Buttplate tang is engraved by another hand with a light foliate arabesque flourish. Bottom of receiver and bottom of carrier are lightly engraved with foliate arabesque patterns. This rifle is pictured, both sides, on pg. 99 of The Book of Winchester Engraving and on pg. 111 of Winchester Engraving, both by Wilson. This rile was produced in about 1871, and is similarly engraved to several others of that immediate era which were known to have been part of the Winchester Exhibition Collection which was displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Given the elaborate and extraordinarily detailed engraving there can be little doubt that this rifle was an exhibition piece very likely intended to influence buyers from the African and Asian continents where crocodiles are prevalent. The fact that this rifle shows hard and heavy use supports the idea that after the 1876 Expo, it was sold to someone on one of those continents where it became a hunting rifle. CONDITION: Fair to good. Bbl and magazine tube are a dark mottled brown patina with a few scattered spots of light surface rust. Bbl address is completely legible. Receiver and forend cap retain traces of orig gold wash with the balance of the gun metal receiver, forend cap & buttplate a dark mustard patina. Front raised edge of receiver, at the forearm is lightly battered. Hammer retains traces of case colors and the lever is a blued patina. Engraving, while showing light surface wear is mostly sharp and clear with a few light nicks and scratches, mostly on right side of receiver. Buttplate is battered on the face with a dark mustard patina. Buttstock has a repaired crack in the toe corresponding with the bottom buttplate screw hole and retains an old restored finish. Forearm has a repaired full length crack in the left bbl channel with restored finish in that area and overall retains traces of orig finish showing moderate to heavy wear. Right sideplate lever and sideplate screw holes have been bushed with steel bushings. Mechanics need attention, lever will not fully extend to chamber a round. Worn dark bore with heavy pitting. Cleaning rod is fine. 52573-2 JRL (45,000-70,000) – Lot 1013

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Auction: Firearms - October 2017
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.