Lot includes S.F. Cody's personal Winchester Model 1873 .22 short caliber rifle with his name stamped and engraved, an S.F. Cody show handbill, two brass molds for resin target balls with Cody's name stamped into the molds, a metal pail with a ladle used for filling with resin, a canvas pouch filled with chunks of resin, two resin target balls and a weighted sterling silver stand to display the resin balls. Lot also includes Cody's personal rifle crate, complete with cloth Winchester advertisements.
S.F. Cody was born Samuel Franklin Cowdery, in 1867 in Davenport, Iowa. While it is hard to discern Cody's early life from fact and fiction, Cody began touring with the Wild West component of a traveling circus in his early twenties. He would go on to tour in England in the late 19th century, giving demonstrations of his cowboy and trick shooting skills. Later in life, Cody became fascinated with kite flying, with a specific interest in their potential ability to fly at high altitudes and carry passengers. He even went on to develop kites for the Royal Airforce. He eventually went on to help pioneer British manned aeroplane flight, setting the first official British distance and endurance records in 1909. Cody would go on to continue to develop new methods of flight with his own finances, until he died in an accident on August 7, 1913, while testing his latest design, the Cody Floatplane. He was buried in the Aldershot Military Cemetery, where is funeral procession drew an estimated crowd of 100,000 people.
Cody's Winchester Model 1873 Rifle(.22 short caliber, 24" round barrel, S/N 332959B) is one of the earliest .22 caliber rifles manufactured (circa 1890). His name, S.F. Cody, is engraved in cursive on the dust cover. His name is also stamped on either side of the buttstock. His original Winchester rifle crate is also included.
As noted, the brass molds have Cody's name stamped into the interior. The interior of Cody's rifle crate features two felt Winchester adds. One reads The celebrated Winchester repeating rifles, shotguns and ammunition for sale here. The other reads, Always use Winchester cartridges, paper shot shells, gun wads, primers and caps. The box measures 50" x 10 3/4" x 10". The lot also includes an advertising handbill that reads S.F. Cody's Famous American Company in Nevada / A Western Musical Comedy Drama of Mirth, Music and Pathos. All Scenery carried. Splendid Printing. A sure money-maker. This Week / Next Week.
Provenance: The S.F. Cody Archive, Sotheby's, London, January 1996. Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Brian Lebel's Old West Auction, 2014.
The barrel, magazine tube and frame have a good amount of blue finish remaining, with areas fading to a plum patina. Good case colors remain on the hammer and parts of the lever. The bore is good and could be cleaned to very good, and the action is crisp. The Winchester box has some wear to the paint on the exterior, otherwise all else in good condition.