Image Lot Price Description


SN 3. Cal. .44 Henry RF. 19″ bbl. Finished in the white without a bbl address. Late Henry style gunmetal receiver and gunmetal forend. Magazine plunger retainer clip is damaged. Bbl band front sight with a dovetail cut underneath on the bbl. Front bbl band is a professional restoration. Experimental rear sight. Varnished burl grain walnut stock with rifle buttplate. SN 3 is stamped on the receiver tang, bbl, forend slide, buttplate and in the tang mortise of the stock. No assembly numbers are present on the side plates or lower tang. One toggle is missing from the action. Late Henry type lever with locking stud. Winchester patent carbines and rifles were an enigma for collectors until 1994 when Herbert G. Houze, former Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum, published his landmark book Winchester Repeating Arms Company Its History And Development from 1865 – 1981. In chapter 1 of his book Mr. Houze clearly defines this extremely rare Winchester fire arm (ref: plate 36, pg 38, plate 37, pg 39). According to Mr. Houze, in December of 1865, Oliver Winchester filed a patent in England for this design, through his agent William Clark. (English patent number 3284 issued December 19th, 1865). Winchester intended to sell most of the production overseas so he only sought European patent protection. In November of 1865, Winchester went to Paris where he met with M. de Suzanne. de Suzanne authorized the purchase of 1000 carbines having Winchesters improvement to the magazine and a fixed price of $34.00 per arm with 50% of the price to be paid immediately and the balance to be paid upon their shipment from New York to Havana, Cuba. The “Improved Henry Carbines” were intended for Maximilian I of Mexico. The carbines were unmarked and shipped by way of Cuba so that Winchester would not be directly associated with their intended use. Paid for in gold, 700 of these Winchester patent carbines were delivered to Cuba beginning with 150 that were shipped by Winchester from New York to Cuba on January 12th, 1866. An export receipt from J.P. Moore & Son, confirms this shipment. Some were also sold commercially despite the lack of patent protection. On March 5th, 1865, an “Improved carbine” and an “Improved rifle” were both sold to Philip Wilson & Co., and William Golcher, for a total of $72.00 ($40.00 for the carbine, $50.00 for the rifle, less a 20% discount). (Ref: Houze pg 41). To this date, only a total of 7 of these rare Winchesters are known to collectors, #3 being the lowest number. Others are SN 5, formerly in the Flayderman collection, SN 8, in the Beneke collection, SN 18, in a private Swiss collection, SN 46, in the Bender collection, and SN 279, which a relic in the possession of the Mexican Federal Army Museum at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. In addition the receiver for another example bearing the SN 691 is in the Winchester Arms Collection of the Cody Firearms Museum. Inventory number 242 of the Winchester Firearms Reference Collection describes one of these arms that has no SN. Of the preceding arms, with the exception of #8, all have 19″ carbine bbls, and none have exterior markings. Survival rate was very low as most of the production was sent to Mexico. SN 3 Winchester Patent Carbine surfaced in Michigan in the late 1980’s. It is possible that it was brought there by Lafayette Baker who was a sales representative for Winchester after the Civil War and moved to Lansing, Michigan in 1865. The carbine was at first mis-identified as a Briggs Patent Model. Briggs Patent Arms were not regular production firearms only prototypes. Subsequent research with the help of Mr. Herb Houze has now properly identified this extremely rare first production Winchester firearm. In 2009 Winchester Patent Carbine #3 was displayed, along with the evidence herein presented, and was awarded N.R.A. Silver Medal #473 along with the “Most Educational Award” at the N.R.A. Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ. The N.R.A. Silver medal and certificate are included with this sale. PROVENANCE: Accompanying this carbine is a comprehensive article featuring this carbine in the Spring 2009 edition of The Texas Gun Collector, pgs 28-32. Also included is correspondence between Mr. Houze and the first owner and also correspondence between Mr. Houze and the present consignor. Also included is a loan contract with the National Firearms Museum, dated March 17th, 2003, between the consignor and the N.F.M., involving the loan of the carbine for display, and a 3 page handwritten letter from George Madis, noted Winchester authority discussing the authenticity and originality of this carbine is included. CONDITION: Very fine, bbl and magazine tube were finished in the white and show a blending of that finish with an even aged patina with some slight stains at the left breech end of the bbl. Bore is uncleaned but with very sharp rifling. Gunmetal sliding forend/magazine cover shows an even mustard patina. Gunmetal receiver also shows an even mustard patina with some rubbing on the high points and a few scratch marks overall. A few small casting flaws. Elevator has a slight dent. Side plates fit very well. Lever, hammer and trigger show an even gray/brown patina. Figured stock retains nearly all of the varnish finish with numerous scratches, dents and handling marks on the high point of each side. Gunmetal buttplate also shows an even mustard patina with high point wear on the heel and toe. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to obtain the earliest “true production Winchester arm” presently known to collectors. 49546-1 TEP C&R (125,000-175,000) – Lot 3013

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Auction: Firearms - October 2015
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.