50. Rare Special Order Winchester Model 1885 New York Expo-Shipped High Wall Rifle

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serial #71014, 50 Express, 36" extra length No. 3 part octagon part round barrel with a very good bore which is bright with strong rifling showing sparsely scattered light pitting. The barrel and frame retain about 97% original blue with the loss due primarily to light high edge wear and even fading. The Winchester spur lever shows some trace original case colors but is primarily a mottled smoky gray patina. The smooth walnut pistolgrip buttstock and forend rate excellent with nice original varnish and only light scattered handling marks, the forend with ebony tip and ebony inlay at the retaining screw. Currently the rifle is sighted with a simple bead sporting front sight and a flat-topped sporting rear sight. The very interesting factory letter shows that this arm originally had a 30" No. 3 weight octagon barrel in 38-55 with no rear seat, mid-range and windgauge sights, checkered pistolgrip stock with Swiss cheekpiece (the lever is not mentioned but it makes sense since the arm had a Swiss cheekrest and seemed to be set up as an offhand shooter) and was shipped to the New York Expo. While there was no "Expo" or World's Fair as such in New York in 1895, it should be remembered that the American Institute Fair was held annually in New York from 1829 until 1897, an important exposition for manufacturers and inventors of the day, Winchester would certainly have had a presence there. The arm was received back from the Expo in June of 1895. It would seem that the arm languished at Winchester for a bit after that, no doubt as a sales sample or show piece, when in October of 1911 it was sent to the custom shop and changed radically. The factory letter shows it then becoming a .50 Express, 36" part round part octagon No. 3 weight barrel, plain pistolgrip stock, sporting sights, and also "sling and swivels", which there is no evidence of. The arm was returned for repair again in March of 1917. Interestingly, the stock and forend have a very attractive, single borderline outline cut, around the periphery of the forend, and around the buttplate and the frame on the buttstock. It is very attractive and precisely done... could it be a factory embellishment? The left side of the tang shows a precise, nearly invisible repair to a chip, it may ??be the source of the 1917 return and repair order. The lower tang shows the original exhibition stocks assembly nos. “1710 XXX SBC” (we assume Swiss Butt Checkered) and the upper tang has the 1911 assembly nos. “10375 CF” which are stamped in the end grain of the butt beneath the buttplate. Overall a very storied and very cool 1885 High Wall rifle, all the more desirable with its extra-length barrel and large bore caliber. (38087-110){ANTIQUE}[Kenneth Fry Collection] (3000/5000) SOLD FOR $9,200.00

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