EXTRAORDINARY JOHN ULRICH STYLE No. 3 FACTORY ENGRAVED AND GOLD INLAID WINCHESTER MODEL 1886 DELUXE TAKEDOWN SPORTING RIFLE, NEWLY DISCOVERED, WITH PROVENANCE TO THE COLORADO GOLD RUSH
Cal. .33 WCF
S# 149782 (1910)
24 inch round bbl. fitted with Lyman Hunting front sight, blank rear sight dovetail and added, period of use, Lyman Combination Tang Peep Sight. Left side of the barrel has the two-line address/patent dates legend ahead of the rear sight dovetail and the two-line nickel steel marking and “33 WCF ” at the breech. Winchester factory oval “WP” proof is stamped on top of the barrel and receiver. Full magazine w/ takedown feature. Blue finish takedown receiver.
Case hardened lever and hammer. Receiver, barrel and appended metal are decorated with fantastic Style No. 3 factory engraving executed and signed by John Ulrich. Style No. 3 engraving is described in Winchester’s “HIGHLY FINISHED ARMS” catalog of 1897 in part as: “The receiver is engraved with arabesque and fancy border work. The animals are cut in relief and surrounded with frames of gold lines. The hammer, finger lever, and breech bolt are engraved with scroll work. The barrel is engraved and inlaid with gold lines at the breech and muzzle. Forend tip is engraved and inlaid in gold. All the screw heads are engraved. Scenes on the receiver can be damaskeened in gold at the same price instead of being relief”. The engraving on this rifle is virtually identical to an example illustrated on pp. 160, 231 in R.L. Wilson’s “The Book of Winchester Engraving” as part of the Winchester Museum Collection. Right side of the receiver with a mountain scene of a Bighorn Sheep in relief and a smaller line engraved Mountain Goat. Left side receiver with a large intricate woodland scene of a bull Elk and two cows in high relief. Bottom of receiver with a vignette of a Whitetail buck damaskeened in gold. Balance of the receiver is encased in arabesque scrolls and framed with trademark scalloped borders and gold wire work. Engraver’s signature “J. ULRICH ” is behind the trigger. Pistol grip stock and forearm are mounted with extra fancy, center crotch, American walnut adorned in handsome spaded Style F carving patterns and finished in rich durable piano varnish. Buttstock is fitted with a hard rubber Winchester grip cap and shotgun buttplate. The serial number of this rifle falls in the range for which no factory documentation exists (146,000 – 150,799). However, this example is without question a Winchester factory produced rifle and is 100% guaranteed to be as such.
SPECIAL NOTE: A commissioned study by the Cody Firearms Museum in 2007, shows only 17 Model 1886 examples listed as engraved at a cost of $50+ or Styles 1-3 listed in the factory records. The study also shows only 37 examples listed with any “Carved Wood” (Style F=10). Data does not include “No Record” examples such as S# 149782.
PROVENANCE: Property of Cripple Creek District gold miner Clarence Burl Blades (1882-1918). Blades moved north to the Cripple Creek area to find fortune during the turn of the century CO Gold Rush and was the leasee/operator of a small mine, the Santa Rita Mine, near the town of Victor. Auction lot is accompanied by a neatly folded slip of heavy stock paper bearing the India ink signature Clarence Blades / Victor Colo. / P.O. Box 212 which was recently discovered inside the buttstock of this exact rifle. Signature matches exactly that appearing on Blades’ 1918 Draft Registration Card filed only two months prior to his death due to Spanish Flu. Probate documents list property retained by widow Ella Blades: three lots at Santa Rita; one Case Automobile; 1-rifle, 1-shotgun, 3-revolvers; mining equipment; various household goods; and a fishing outfit. Whereas the rifle is not described in probate, Family lore states that the fancy Winchester was handed down directly through descendants of a Cripple Creek District gold miner whose name, until now, had been forgotten. Also accompanied by a quantity of public information and documents regarding Blades’ Family history.