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Lot 1012: Exceptional, Documented Deluxe Gold Plated, Conrad F. Ulrich Signed Panel Scene Factory Engraved Winchester Model 1866 Rifle
by Rock Island Auction Company
December 1, 2012
Rock Island, IL, USALive Auction
Estimate: $50000 - 75000
Winchester Model 1866 Rifle manufactured in 1870. This Deluxe Third Model Rifle is factory engraved and signed by Master Engraver Conrad F. Ulrich (rear of the trigger and numerous times on the face of receiver under forearm) and features a gold-plated brass receiver, forearm cap and crescent buttplate, blue octagon barrel and full length magazine and casehardened hammer and lever. The stock and forearm are highly figured fancy grain walnut. The stock and forearm cap are fitted with factory sling swivels. The barrel has a dovetail mounted sporting front sight with nickel-silver blade and an early Henry style folding leaf rear sight with rounded top and 900 yard center notch. The buttplate has a hinged trap door and the butt trap contains a four-piece jointed steel cleaning rod with brass tip. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped with the two-line legend "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN CT./KING'S -IMPROVEMENT- PATENTED MARCH 29. 1866. OCTOBER 16 1860". The serial number "79868" is stamped on the lower receiver tang behind the trigger and enclosed in an engraved banner. The engraver's signature "C.F. ULRICH" with a rectangular border is stamped in tiny letters on the lower tang immediately behind the trigger. Additional "C.F. ULRICH" stampings are found on the side of the upper tang under the stock and on the breech face of the receiver. "OXX" is stamped on the lower tang under the stock. This rifle is illustrated and described in detail on page 111 of "WINCHESTER ENGRAVING" by R.L. Wilson. The rifle has Winchester Style One factory engraving and the receiver has extensive intricate scroll engraving with two scenes on either side of the receiver and several animals and figures partially concealed in the delicate scrollwork. The central scene on the left side plate depicts a native child being attacked (and eaten) by a crocodile while two other natives watch helplessly. Concealed in the engraving in front of the side plate is a hunter with a rifle and hound. Behind the side plate is a man with a bucket and a saddled horse. A smaller scene on the left side of the receiver depicts two deer grazing under a tree. The right side plate is engraved with a hunting scene that depicts two hounds standing over a fallen buck with a hunter in the distant background. A charging bison and a standing grizzly are concealed in the scrollwork behind the side plate and a panther crouches over the loading gate in the scrollwork in front of the side plate. A smaller game scene on the forward portion of the receiver depicts a buck and doe. In addition to the game scenes on the receiver, the upper and lower tang, underside of the receiver, cartridge elevator, buttplate heel and forearm cap are all engraved with scrollwork or geometric designs. This rifle represents some of Conrad F. Ulrich's most detailed and best known engraving.
BBL: 24 In
Gauge: 44 RF
Serial Number: 79868
Condition: Good. The barrel and magazine have a smooth deep brown patina with light edge wear. The barrel markings are light but legible. The receiver retains traces of the gold-plated finish in protected areas. The forward portion of the frame has been battered possible by a vise. The balance of the receiver and the brass forearm cap and buttplate, have a very attractive untouched patina. The intricate highly detailed engraving on the receiver, forearm cap and buttplate remains sharp. Traces of the casehardened finish are present on the hammer and lever. The fancy grain walnut stock and forearm show moderate handling wear with the left top side of forearm having been professionally repaired (splicing a piece in). There is a hairline crack on both sides of the stock that runs from the toe of the buttplate about half-way to the sling swivel. This is an exceptional example of a Conrad Ulrich signed and panel scene engraved Winchester Model 1866 Rifle that features some of the best examples of Ulrich's unique engraving.