"MODEL 1866 LEVER ACTION RIFLE. SN 104463. Cal. 44 RF Henry. Exceptional Model 66 with engraving so special & rare as to be completely unique in its presentation. Rifle has a 24-1/4" oct bbl, full magazine, half nickel front sight & 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, 3X burl & flame grain, center crotch cut, uncheckered American walnut with straight stock and crescent buttplate with trap. The bottom of the stock & forend cap have sling eyes of a type not previously encountered by this cataloguer but are, without question, factory orig to this rifle. The trigger is also unusual with its long, thin, rounded tip generally found only on engraved & special rifles. Deluxe wood is rarely ever encountered on the early brass frame rifles and this matching forearm & stock are even an exception to that rule with their extraordinary matching flame & shell grain. Receiver, forend cap & 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 & 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 & 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 & 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 & 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 oct bbl, "XXX" stock, oil finish, engraved in gold, shipped May 6, 1878 to Order #11739. This rifle is pictured on p. 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 p. 114 of The Winchester Book, Madis, 1985 Edition. This exquisite gun was made around 1872 ( based on the SN 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. PROVENANCE: Henry Vogel Collection as listed in both books. CONDITION: Very fine. Bbl & magazine tube retain 80-90% thinning orig blue with edge wear and areas of the magazine tube turning plum. Receiver retains 60-70% strong orig gold plating with the loss areas from the shaded & punch dot background areas. Flat surfaces, being better polished, retained the plating far better. Forend cap retains 60-70% orig gold with some silver showing through on back edge. Buttplate retains traces of gold around edges with exposed areas a dark mustard patina. Lever & hammer retain strong case colors, only lightly faded on sides, turning gray on top edge of hammer and outer edge of lever. Wood is sound with light nicks & scratches and retains most of its orig factory oil finish. Mechanics are crisp, bright shiny bore with scattered pitting. 4-32099 JR205 (275,000-375,000)"
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