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1866 Presentation Rifle ? Probably a Gustave Young?
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February 13, 2023
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February 13, 2023 - 10:04 pm
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I am new to this website today 02/13/23.

I recently picked up a mixed collection of Winchesters and am hoping to find out more information possibly.

I have a Winchester 1866 rifle that is deluxe wood checkered and engraved. The inside tang is stamped with a “G” and I’m pretty sure its a Gustave Young engraved gun. The gun is serial number 19152 and has a presentation name plate inlet into the stock with date “June 1st 1868”. 

I checked the rifles serial number date on this website and its made 1868.

A few days ago I googled master engravers in Civil war Era and looked for a name with a G in it. Found the name Gustave Young and thought it was a long shot but it might be.

I found the pictures of an 1866 Gold Engraved gun sold by Rock Island Auctions and upon checking out the pictures saw the engravers mark in almost the same spot as mine. The mark is almost exactly like this gun. They had a nice write-up and it seemed he might have been free lance engraving at this time. 

I took a picture and wanted to post it to see if I might be correct.

Hoping to find out if its his engravers mark at the time and can and will post more pictures later if anyone is interested.

If anyone can help lead me to more information on how common it is or sources for more info it would be deeply appreciated. I am not a collector but have worked in gun shops all my life. We very seldom have Winchesters like this walk in the door.

I will post a picture of the makers mark, the left side and the brass presentation inlet with name.

Thank You so much for any help on this one.



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February 14, 2023 - 12:20 am
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Well, you could buy this book:


But before doing that, find out what info the Winchester Museum can provide.  If your intention is selling it, I’d send it to one of the major auction houses that can provide the publicity such a valuable piece deserves. 

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February 14, 2023 - 12:50 am
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Don’t fight it, I’d say you are now a collector. Welcome to the affliction, Scott. Is the rest of this collection this interesting?



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February 14, 2023 - 1:00 am
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The museum does not have records for that serial number. Another method is to contact Pauline Muerrle a retired Winchester engraver who can recognize the engraving styles of most early engravers. I had her authenticate a engraved 94 for me.



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February 14, 2023 - 2:09 am
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 Winchester 1866s that were factory engraved usually have fancy wood and seldom marked by the engraver. Most marked 1866 are stamped with a tiny mark behind the trigger on the lower tang. example “J Ulrich”. Some engravers included initials in the scroll work. Gustave Young liked to include a wolfs head in the scroll work or on the side of the hammer.

 I owned a factory engraved Colt 1851 done by Gustave Young. The coverage and quality of the cuts was amazing, a true work of art. I kept the gun in a glass case and occasionally removed it only to admire his work.  Most of his work was on early Colts but I’m sure most engraver free lanced. T/R

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