,hl=en,siteUrl='http://0ldfox.blogspot.com/',authuser=0,security_token="v_SeT2Tv8vVdKRCcG9CCW-ZdIfQ:1429878696275"/> Old Fox KM Journal : Fine Firearms

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Fine Firearms

Engraved Colts and Winchesters

By Clifford Chappell
Exceptional and Historic Deluxe Providence Tool Co. Peabody-Martini Rifle, Exquisitely Engraved by C.F. Ulrich for the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876.
In the world of firearms collecting, engraved guns are a special category. Colts and Winchesters are among the most sought after names. They are synonymous with the story of America and the traditions of shooting and hunting. Many date to the mid-19th century. Even at that time these guns were considered desirable works of art. Some were embellished with engraving to emphasize the importance of the owner and/or to commemorate a noteworthy event in the life of the recipient.

Gun makers of the period employed fine engravers. These factory engraved guns are rare and desirable. The ultimate in factory engraved examples are those that can be attributed to or in rare cases, were signed by, the period artist.

The style of engraving varies among those 19th century artisans, most of whom learned their craft in the European and German engraving guilds. The very best of these engravers include the names Nimschke, Young, and Ulrich. Louis D. Nimschke, based in New York, did most of his work from the mid-1850s up to 1900. He worked independently and engraved for Colt, Winchester, Sharps, Remington, and Spencer among other gun makers. John Ulrich and Conrad F. Ulrich were brothers who mostly engraved for Winchester and other rifle makers in the late 1800s.

The challenge and reward found in collecting engraved guns is in learning to identify the style of work of each engraver. While these fine works are not often signed, unique characteristics allow the educated eye to attribute the work to a specific engraver. When these guns become available they are most often described as "factory engraved" and/or "attributed to." While an "attribution" is not hard proof, it is the basis for a buying decision among knowledgeable collectors. Heritage Arms & Armor recently sold aPeabody-Martini Exhibition Grade rifle which was attributed to Conrad Ulrich for $32,200. The standard rifle of this type is usually estimated at $1,000-2,000.
Factory Engraved Colt 1861 Navy Percussion Revolver.
Engraved Colts and Winchesters surviving over 125 years are highly sought after. The upcoming December 9th Arms & Armor Auction #6081 in Dallas has examples of these. Among them is Lot #32136, a Factory Eng raved Colt 1861 Navy Percussion Revolver whose engraving can be traced to the day they left the factory. A "factory engraved" gun is considered to be original and therefore of much higher value than a gun engraved at a later date. Lot #32273 is an Engraved Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle Attributed to L.D. Nimschke. The engraving on this rifle matches the style of Nimschke when compared to other examples of his work. The attribution to Nimschke makes this lot noteworthy and desirable.
Engraved Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle Attributed to L.D. Nimschke.
This auction offers quite a number of beautifully engraved firearms, both handguns and long guns. Be sure to check out these as well as the hundreds of other fine weapons and related material. There is something for every collector.

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