Winchester Exhibition Quality High-Relief Engraved 1866 Carbine Attributed to Conrad F. Ulrich, Made for the Sultan of Turkey
44 RF caliber, 20" round barrel with full magazine, serial number 79928
. Very finely figured walnut stock and forearm. Barrel and magazine tube finished in blue. Gold frame, buttplate and sling swivel base. Case colored hammer, lever and blued trigger. Blued screws in the frame. Blued loading gate. Panel with nude goddess, deer running on the left side, on the right a nude goddess; buck and doe resting. Recently discovered in Turkey. High deep relief engraved Winchesters are among the most sought after and desirable of all American firearms and considered the opus of 19th-century artwork on guns. Less than 10 high relief 1866s are known to collectors and this is the only saddle ring carbine that is high relief engraved known to this cataloger and no other is pictured in any major reference work.
This carbine is almost a twin to the rifle pictured on inside banner page of The Book of Winchester Engraving
by R.L. Wilson. That rifle, serial number 79994
, was considered Ulrich’s finest work by Jonathan Peck, Johnny Bassett and old time Winchester collectors. This carbine shows a Grecian slave at the left front of the frame with running stag and doe at the center of the frame surrounded by highest-quality scroll and geometric deep relief engraving. The right side of the frame also shows a Grecian-type slave girl along with a standing stag and doe with similar deep relief border. The frame and mounts are original and richly gold plated.
This carbine was legally imported in a process that took a period of nearly 6 years. It is well known to collectors that Winchester presented a number of highly finished arms to the Turkish Sultan and important officials in order to gain contracts for arms and the largest number of 1866 muskets were indeed sold to Turkey.
The frame remains in excellent original condition with 95% plus of its rich gold gilt and is absolutely untouched and uncleaned in modern times. There is just a small loss of finish on the bottom edge of the frame, lifter and edges. The inside of the frame is almost unused and the lifter and bolt face also show almost no use. The engraving is completely unpolished and untouched and almost in the condition of the day it was made. The buttplate shows 80% to 90% rich gold plate also, just drifting at the edges and slightly toned. The barrel and magazine tube have suffered from poor storage that did not affect the frame which is protected by the gold plate. The barrel and tube show 75% to 85% original blue that is drifting and toning to a natural patina with some deep rust, erosion and pitting along the left edge of the fore end and a lesser amount along the right edge. The rear barrel band shows 20% blue and some similar erosion and pitting. The front barrel band shows 20% to 30% original blue and only some light erosion. The stocks have been expertly restored. (It was broken when imported and we had a master gunsmith restore the original stock.) The stocks show a deluxe burl wood grain and are original to the gun and the quality of the restoration is truly excellent and almost imperceptible. The hammer and lever show considerable case hardening within a browning patina and there is some pitting and rust also from the same poor storage. The firing pin and bolt show bright original blue and the loading gate shows bright original blue also with some erosion from moisture. The interior of the bore is bright in some areas and rough with a slight ring about halfway down that may clean. The frame and engraving on this 1866 high relief will stand up with the best engraved Winchesters extant and this gun is the way we true collectors like to find them with no replaced parts.