Lot 2019: Extremely Rare Documented Antique 1897/1898 New York Exhibition Factory Shipped Winchester Model 1892 Nickel Plated Lever Action Trapper's Carbine with Factory Letter
6th May 2017
Manufactured in 1895, this extremely rare nickel plated Winchester Model 1892 lever action trapper's carbine with a 15 inch barrel is factory documented as having been shown at the “New York Expo ’97.” The accompanying factory letter verifies the carbine configuration, caliber, 15 inch barrel and nickel finish. The letter states that this carbine was received in the Winchester warehouse on August 30, 1895 followed by the notation "NY Ex '97." The carbine is subsequently listed as being received in the warehouse on March 5 and May 11, 1897 and shipped on May 12, 1897. The carbine is then listed as being received or returned to the warehouse on four separate occasions in 1898 along with the notation “NY Ex ’98 (rubbed out)” before being shipped on April 7, 1898 as order number 182. The multiple returns to Winchester indicate that the carbine was a factory display piece. References to "NY Expo" in 1897 are found in factory letters for other exhibition grade Winchester rifles and include a Model 1886 rifle (serial number 110606) and a Model 1894 rifle (serial number 16597). The writer has concluded that the “NY Ex ’97” notation references the American Institute Fair, which was held annually in New York City from 1829 to 1897 and has been considered the first world’s fair in the United States. A period publication referred to the American Institute Fair as an “important gathering of the inventors and manufacturers of America.” In the late nineteenth century, Winchester certainly met the criteria to be among America’s top innovators displaying to the public “the finest products of agriculture and manufacturing.” For 40 days in 1897 the American Institute Fair was held at Madison Square Garden. The fact that the last American Institute Fair was held in 1897 provides an explanation to the “rubbed out” New York Expo ’98 notation in the Winchester factory ledger. There was no need to send a rifle to a fair that was never held. The carbine has a full nickel plated finish with straight grain American walnut stock and forearm. The rapid taper, lightweight barrel has a block mounted nickel silver front sight located behind the upper barrel band and a folding leaf rear sight graduated to "9" for 900 yards. A staple mounted saddle ring is located on the left side of the receiver. The upper receiver tang is factory drilled and tapped. The stock has a standard carbine style buttplate with no trap. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped: "MANUFACTURED BY THE/-WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN. CONN. U.S.A.-" in two lines between the upper and lower barrel band. The caliber designation "44 W.C.F." is stamped on the top of the barrel between the rear sight and the receiver. The upper tang is roll-stamped "MODEL 1892./WINCHESTER/PAT. OCT. 14. 1884" in three lines. The serial number "48117" is stamped across the bottom of the receiver.
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