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POSSIBLY CONRAD ULRICH'S GREATEST MASTERPIECE AND A...
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SN 79994. Cal.44 Henry. 24" octagon bbl with gold plated with blue finish on other metal parts. Uncheckered wood deluxe highly figured walnut stock. This is a extraordinary exhibition Winchester model 1866 lever action rifle manufactured in 1870 and superbly engraved (signed under lever) by the master of the Winchester engraving shop Conrad F. Ulrich. This rifle is shown on the dust jacket and front piece of the 1975 edition of The Book of Winchester Engraving by R.L Wilson. Pages 103-106 of this book contain a full description and eight illustrations of this magnificent work of art rifle, including a multi-page color foldout. The description states that this rifle is considered to be one of Conrad Ulrich's masterpieces. This most artistic and extraordinary 1866 was the pride of iconic Connecticut collector Jonathan M. Peck and illustrated on pages 30 and 31 of the Texas Arms Manual. The rifle has a very rare blued and engraved octagonal barrel, full-length magazine and lever with a nitre blue loading gate. The hammer and trigger are color case hardened. The brass forearm, nose cap, frame and crescent buttplate have a gold washed finish. The stock and forearm are select fancy grained walnut with high polish piano finish. The barrel is fitted with a globe front sight and the standard model 1866 folding leaf rear sight with 1,000 yard center notch and elevation bar retaining screw at the top of the leaf. A folding leaf peep sight is mounted on the tang. The forearm cap and stock have factory sling swivels. The top of the barrel 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." in an oval panel with engraved borders ahead of the rear sight. The serial number "79994" is located behind the trigger in an engraved panel. The lower tang is stamped "C.F. ULRICH" in a tiny rectangle, with "L.C."as an overstrike. The rifle frame is profusely relief-engraved. The focus of the engraving are two standing nude female figures in relief panel on either side of the frame and three highly detailed game scenes. R.L. Wilson notes that the engraving on this rifle differs dramatically from the typical Winchester scroll and game scene engraving. He states that nude figures are rarely found on engraved arms from the Victorian era. The archways which frame the nudes and the use of geometric borders are of the greatest rarity. The nudes are based on the most famous sculpture of the mid-19th century, "The Greek Slave" by famed sculptor Hiram powers completed in 1844. This magnificent work of art held symbolic meaning for American abolitionists and inspired innumerable poems and essays. Ulrich's use of Power's sculpture to decorate this rifle raises it to the level of high art far above almost any other decorated firearms. The game scene on the left side of the frame depicts five running deer in the forest and in a panel with escalloped borders. The scene captures the fluid lines of animals in motion against a finely detailed forest backdrop of trees and ferns. The right side of the receiver features two game scenes. The first scene depicts a buck, doe and fawn at rest near a forest stream in a circle with escalloped borders. A second smaller scene behind the first depicts a seated hound in a circle with escalloped borders. Six horizontal geometric designs frame the loading gate and six vertical geometric designs separate Ulrich's version of Power's "Greek Slave" from the game scene on the left side of the frame. Smaller geometric ovals form part of the border at the front of the receiver and back of the forearm cap. The underside of the tang and the top of the buttplate heel are also engraved with relief scrollwork. The barrel is decorated with flowing scrollwork on a punch dot background. The engraving extends from the receiver along the top and sides of the barrel for six inches, on the sides of the barrel for several inches near the forearm cap and on the top and sides of the barrel for about 4" behind the muzzle. Conrad Friedrich Ulrich began his engraving career with Colt and served his engraving apprenticeship primarily under the renowned Gustave Young. Serial 79994 is regarded as the finest and best known of all engraved 1866 Winchester rifles. The combination of a relatively early production Model 1866 rifle, special order features, distinctive and flawlessly executed engraving by one of the 19th Century American master engravers. Dramatic bright fire gilt finish and outstanding condition make this rifle one of the finest of all engraved Winchesters. PROVENANCE: Jonathan M. Peck 1971: Arlen L. McCroskie 1975; The spectacular collections of Ray Bentley featuring the finest and rarest deluxe antique Winchesters in the world. CONDITION: Extremely fine. The rifle is in outstanding original condition and retains 98% of the original blue and gold washed finish. The barrel and magazine retain nearly all of the high polish blue finish. The engraving and barrel legend are extremely crisp. The loading gate has more than 95% of the fiery nitre blue finish intact. Nearly all of the gold washed finish remains on the forearm cap, frame and buttplate with very minor handling wear on high points. The highly detailed engraving on the frame, forearm cap and buttplate is deep and extremely sharp. The highly figured fancy deluxe figured walnut stock and forearm are both excellent; nearly all of the oiled piano finish is present, with few extremely minor handling and storage marks. The hammer and trigger retain nearly all of the muted case colors. Action is excellent. Bore bright and shiny. This magnificent Conrad Ulrich Engraved Model 1866 rifle is the ultimate engraved Model 1866 Winchester rifle, and the finest we have ever offered. It is a collection in itself and one of the most famous of all Winchesters. As a work of 19th Century art it transcends the fact it is a firearms and its interpretation of Power's "Greek Slave" sculpture makes it worthy of display alongside one of Hiram Powers' sculptures or the finest American 19th Century paintings. The fortunate purchaser of this splendid rifle will own an 'American Winchester Legend'. 53091-88
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*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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