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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gold Standard Winchesters

For those not familiar, Rock Island Auction Company sent out a series of emails containing some of the highlights in our May 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction.  These messages covered a number of popular genres and gave a first look at some firearms that are bound to attract the attention of some of the world's foremost collectors and investors.  This blog, and the ones to follow, are a reprint of those emails for those who do not receive that type of communication.  As an added bonus, these blogs will also include many photos that did not appear in the original emails in order to keep them at a reasonable size. We hope you enjoy these collectible firearms and their multitude of photos!

If you like what you see below, be sure to check out our Photo Preview, 4-page Sneak Preview, or our full 16-page mailer.

We'll spare you most of the email intro...

We have recently been receiving such extraordinary, high quality, rare, and historic pieces that we simply cannot keep them to ourselves! For the next nine days, Rock Island Auction Company is going to have featured auction items. The emails will be brief, show many breathtaking photos, and are sure to activate the salivary glands of collectors everywhere. These exciting items featured will all be available in our May 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction

Our first Featured Item is a Winchester Model 1885 adorned for even the most discerning collector. It has been featured in R.L. Wilson's Winchester: An American Legend and also his The Book of Winchester Engraving. The books gush this gun's praises and rightly so! Its numerous special order features would alone set this rifle far ahead of its peers, but when J. Ulrich has chosen to use this rifle as his personal canvas, it truly is set apart in a class all its own.

Fabulous Documented Winchester Special Order J. Ulrich Engraved and Gold Inlayed Winchester Model 1885 with Carved Stock and Forend Special Sporting Rifle

Its wide gold inlaid borders surround two master engraved panel scenes of a bull moose and ram as well as scroll work that is as abundant as it is meticulous. The engraving spreads to nearly every surface of the gun and cost $60.00 when it was manufactured in 1903, around $1,500 in today's dollars! The barrel in addition to showing some of Ulrich's engraving also has gold and platinum bands around the breech and a single gold band by the muzzle. Truly one of the finest and most impressive Winchester 1885 rifles that RIAC has ever had the privilege to sell.

The "J. Ulrich" signature immediately behind the trigger.

Now for some bonus shots not shown in the email!

The factory letter listing the $60.00 engraving charge!
Here is the gun shown in R.L. Wilson's "Winchester: An American Legend"
Here it is shown in his "The Book of Winchester Engraving"
It even comes with a spare barrel manufactured by "A.O. Zischang" also with beautiful engraving on the breech and muzzle ends and with the gold and silver inlaid bands.
The original barrel.

Our second item is an all original, special order, factory engraved Winchester Model 1907 semi-automatic rifle engraved by the extraordinarily talented, but little known Winchester factory engraver Angelo Stokes. Also featured in "The Winchester Book of Engraving," this rifle's receiver is nearly awash in the detailed and fastidious work of this artist. A gold bull moose and gold stag embellish each side, each in their own marsh scene and framed by sprawling floral engraving. Even the top of the frame features its own panel scene of a bobcat, framed with a contrasting silver and floral engraving, which is itself surrounded by a textured background before being stopped by a border bookended by two fleur de lis.

Exceptional Presentation Grade Original Angelo Stokes Signed Factory Engraved Deluxe Special Order Winchester Model 1907 Semi-Automatic Rifle with Gold/Silver Inlayed Game Scenes and Carved Stock and Forend

The wood work is performed with distinction on a 3X grade, extra fancy walnut stock and foregrip in the highly desirable and beautiful Winchester "Factory A" pattern - the highest offered by Winchester.  Starting at the end closest to the receiver on both the forend and the stock, it features a large heart filled with ivy leaves and berries before spreading further with continued vinous scroll work.  This is the chance to own a masterpiece of a less common rifle by a wondrously talented artist.

The artist's very small signed initials.

Bonus Pictures
As the rifle appears in "The Winchester Book of Engraving"

Beautiful engraving near the magazine well.

Silver barrel band neat the muzzle and half nickel front sight.

Our third and final item, has a factory letter that says it all: "In my opinion, it was the finest 71 Winchester ever produced by Winchester Repeating Arms."  After being made to show off at exhibitions and shows, this beautiful Model 71 lever action rifle was stowed away in the Winchester vault until the mid to late 1960s, but it's making up for lost time now as a featured item for the world's #1 auction house!  It boasts four gold inlaid animals and many more gold wire borders than one typically sees even on a gun of this magnitude.  Even the barrel and forend enjoy golden accents!  Each scene is engraved with a crystal clear background scene to each inlaid animal.  Outside the panel scenes each gold border is flanked by the engraving of geometric shapes and floral vines, which carries to almost every surface on the gun.  The fancy walnut stocks have been painstakingly carved to complement this eye catching receiver.  Clearly, no expense was spared in the crafting of this masterpiece rifle.  Surely as the golden mountain lion stalks the elk on one side of this receiver, so too will many collectors attempt to hunt this prize and make it their own.

Bonus Photos

The extremely flattering factory letter that details its exhibition origins.

And that's the end of just the FIRST email!  Hope you enjoyed the photos and the bonus photos.  Some of those photos will appear in our Premiere Auction Catalog, but there are some that will only be seen on this blog.  Keep your eyes peeled in future weeks for more of this email series and more photos that you can only see right here.  This is going to be an auction full of highlights and we can't wait to share these phenomenal collector and investment grade firearms with you.

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