This Winchester in excellent condition has a solid German silver frame. Only one other Model 1866 has such a feature, much more luxurious than sterling or plated silver. The rifle for sale is illustrated by hunting scenes executed with a high sharpness and a beautiful depth of field that were undoubtedly the work of one of the best engravers, Gustave Young or perhaps Conrad Ulrich.
From the serial number it can be deduced that it was made in 1870. Winchester archivists retrieved on the owner's request its shipping date from the warehouse of the company, May 6, 1878.
The owner is a descendant of Wm. P. Loper who was general manager of a circus named F. A. Robbins' New Shows. In the list of the performers Chevalier Ira Paine is identified as Master Shot of the World.
Paine was one of the best pistol shooters of his time. A sports champion turned professional, he made demonstration shows including international tours in which his skill marveled the kings. He was named chevalier of an ancient military order by the king of Portugal. A photo shows him with two rifles that lean against a table, one of which is well matching with the silver Winchester.
Now in oblivion, Paine was famous in his time and that gun may have been offered to him by Winchester or by a fan in recognition of his feats. We do not know. The current owner tells that Robbins, the owner of the circus, eloped with a girlfriend, taking with them the receipts of the season, probably in 1888. Paine presented the Winchester to his friend Loper for comforting him.
SOLD for $ 420K before fees
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