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Two Extraordinary Rifles Created for Auto Magnate John Francis Dodge to Sell

by Special to WorthPoint (03/04/13).

This 33-caliber model 1886 Winchester rifle, made for Dodge Motor Company co-founder and magnate John Francis Dodge, is expected to challenge for top-lot honors at the upcoming Annual Outstanding March Firearms Auction, to be hosted by James D. Julia, Inc., on March 11-12, 2013. The left side of the rifle is finished with a detailed, elliptical shaped forest vignette of a gold inlaid white tail buck, doe and fawn, fruits of the artistic genius of Winchester’s premiere engraver of the day, John Ulrich.

FAIRFIELD, Maine — A 33-caliber model 1886 Winchester rifle, made for Dodge Motor Company co-founder and magnate John Francis Dodge, is expected to challenge for top-lot honors at the upcoming Outstanding March Firearms Auction, to be hosted by James D. Julia, Inc., on March 11-12, 2013.

Considered aesthetically and functionally flawless, the John Francis Dodge exposition quality Winchester was created for one of the country’s great entrepreneur at the time of his emergence as one of Detroit’s financial elite. A Cody Firearms letter documents in great detail Dodge’s specific and exacting instructions for the Winchester’s creation.

The Winchester rifle, lot #1006, is estimated to sell for between $ 175,000 and $275,000 and is in like-new condition. It is accompanied by its archival quality paperwork and is arguably one of the most exceptional, fully documented Winchesters to come to market in recent memory.

Also offered in this same sale is lot #1007, an extraordinary ornamental Savage model 1899 made for Dodge at about the same time; its presale estimate stands at $125,000 to $150,000. It is considered the finest Savage rifle known.

The right side of the rifle features a square-shaped vignette of a gold inlaid standing gold bull moose and a reclining cow moose. The gun’s loading gate base is engraved with a fan pattern, a maple leaf and has a rosette around the screw.

Made in 1913 specifically for Dodge, the Winchester can claim celebrity status for both its exceptional construction as well as decoration. The 33-caliber firearm, produced to the highest standards, has a 24-inch matted, tapered lightweight barrel and half magazine, a pedestal-mounted Sheard front sight, and a flat top rear sight. It is mounted with exceptional English walnut and has a custom-carved and checkered forearm and capped pistol grip stock. It also features a Roosevelt cheek piece and a Winchester checkered steel buttplate. The gun’s trigger pull, according to its documentation and records, is “as light as possible consistent with safety.”

In addition to its spectacular assembly and mechanics, this Winchester is also outstanding for its handsomely elaborate presentation. All of its customization was the artistic genius of Winchester’s premiere engraver of the day, John Ulrich, and his equally talented brother, Conrad Ulrich, who was responsible for the gun’s intricate and unique carving motifs. In terms of design highlights, the gun has 32 lines per inch of fantastic checkering, with elaborately carved arabesques and fleur-de-lis on the bottom of forearm and each side of its grip.

The left side of the rifle is finished with a detailed, elliptical shaped forest vignette of a gold inlaid white tail buck, doe and fawn; the right side is finished with a smaller square shaped vignette of a gold inlaid standing gold bull moose and a reclining cow moose. The gun’s loading gate base is engraved with a fan pattern, a maple leaf and has a rosette around the screw. Its receiver features the gold inlaid, intertwined initials “JFD” for John Francis Dodge, with the balance of the belly’s receiver engraved in arabesque patterns with an intertwined ribbon.

The rifle’s receiver features the gold inlaid, intertwined initials “JFD” for John Francis Dodge, with the balance of the belly’s receiver engraved in arabesque patterns with an intertwined ribbon.

The Winchester rifle is estimated to sell for between $ 175,000 and $275,000 and is in like-new condition. It is accompanied by its archival quality paperwork and is arguably one of the most exceptional, fully documented Winchesters to come to market in recent memory.

The left side of the gun’s lower tang is stamped with the assembly number “1309” and “OS.” The rifle’s flat surrounding the lever opening, takedown ring, top of receiver, top and bottom tangs, forend cap, magazine tube cap, sides and edges of lever and hammer, and buttplate are all engraved in matching fan patterns. The every surface of this rifle is literally a work of fine art, designed by John Francis Dodge and brought to life by Winchester’s John and Conrad Ulrich.

“I have studied tens of thousands of firearms here at Julia’s, but this Winchester truly is in class by itself,” said James D. Julia, the company’s president and an international authority on rare firearms. “It is also one of the most extraordinary, fully documented Winchesters to come to auction in recent history and one of the most elaborately engraved and gold inlaid Winchester Model 1886 rifles in existence.

“The gun’s fully documented history and association with John Francis Dodge are fascinating and should be of great interest to collectors. We are thrilled to be able to offer this rifle and paperwork, as well as the Dodge Savage, as highlights of the final phase of the Wes Adams Estate Collection sale here at Julia’s, which will be held as part of our upcoming March Firearms Auction.”

For more information about these items, or the Outstanding March Firearms Auction, please visit James D. Julia, Inc., website.

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