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1873 Carbine - Fair Estimate?
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April 25, 2023 - 11:16 pm
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Hi all,

I’m looking for some feedback on my friend’s rifle he has at auction at Poulins.  Pictures are here:  Spring 2023 Auction | Poulin’s Antiques & Auctions, Inc. (hibid.com)  Here is their description:

Lot # 4020
Quantity 1
Estimate  5,500.00 – 8,500.00 USD
Description
Cal. 44 WCF (44-40). S# 267798B. Barrel 20″. Brass blade front sight & folding leaf carbine rear sight. Full length magazine. Action has nickel finish with staple fastened saddle ring on left side. Band fastened carbine forearm & carbine stock of “X” grade fancy walnut with nickel finish trapdoor carbine buttplate. Inside lower left tang has “X” wood grade marking followed by assembly number “147”. Top tang channel of stock has matching assembly number. Toeline of stock and forearm band have sling swivels. S# indicates 1888 manufacture. UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: Cody Firearm Museum letter lists the following information “Type: Carbine”, “Caliber: 44”, “X stock”, “Sling and Swivel”, “1/2 Nickel”, “Received in warehouse on June 23, 1888” & “Shipped from warehouse on June 23, 1888, Order number 8745”. CONDITION: barrel, mag. tube, bbls. bands, lever and exposed portions of action have gray coloration from touch up finish. Action and buttplate retain 70% flaking nickel finish. Sanded and refinished wood shows scratches, marks and small dents. Bore retains intact rifling & some pitting. (01-22739/DS).
He is wondering if their estimate is in the ballpark of honest value.  All of your thoughts – good, bad and ugly – would be appreciated.  I’m pretty sure he paid a lot more than that.   Thank you, Scott
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April 27, 2023 - 11:17 pm
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I wouldn’t put the estimate any higher, but who knows – it’s an auction.  Nickel plated carbines are not real common, so rarity factors in.  On the other hand, many collectors avoid nickel plated pieces.  Because of the way nickel with flake, peel and blister, it can easily appear unsightly. This carbine has some flaking but I don’t see any unsightly blistering.  Detractions such gray touch-up finish on the barrel, sanding and refinishing, dents, pitting in the bore don’t help.  On the plus side, the nickel finish, swivels and higher grade wood – that all letter, are definitely in the plus column.  For me, the largest detraction is the barrel color touch-up.

As far as the auction estimate, I don’t think it matters much.  People are going to bid what they want to bid.

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April 30, 2023 - 10:14 am
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steve004 said
I wouldn’t put the estimate any higher, but who knows – it’s an auction.  Nickel plated carbines are not real common, so rarity factors in.  On the other hand, many collectors avoid nickel plated pieces.  Because of the way nickel with flake, peel and blister, it can easily appear unsightly. This carbine has some flaking but I don’t see any unsightly blistering.  Detractions such gray touch-up finish on the barrel, sanding and refinishing, dents, pitting in the bore don’t help.  On the plus side, the nickel finish, swivels and higher grade wood – that all letter, are definitely in the plus column.  For me, the largest detraction is the barrel color touch-up.

As far as the auction estimate, I don’t think it matters much.  People are going to bid what they want to bid.

  

Thank you Steve.  I very much appreciate your feedback.  I’m pretty sure my friend bought the “story” more than the rifle, and I think he paid much more than the estimate.  I think he was told that based on the rifle’s configuration, it could be 1 of 1.  And while he has a couple dozen rifles, he – like me – doesn’t really know what he has.

As I’m sure you all can tell, I’m not a collector like most of you.  I am a bit of an accumulator.  By that I mean I am only now really beginning to learn and better understand what an honest, collectible Winchester is.  The rifles I do have – which admittedly were bought with very little knowledge – are mostly from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s; M54, M70, M64, M71.  I do enjoy my small accumulation – very much – it’s the craftsmanship of a time gone by.  I feel very lucky to have what I do have.  So I really couldn’t help my friend better understand what his 1873 is and its relative value, so thank you again for your very knowledgeable insight and feedback.

And I am learning thanks to the kindness and patience of some members here such as yourself, Bert, and Lou in particular.  And of course, a LOT of reading.  I’m amazed and quite humbled by the knowledge of the regular posters here.  I look forward to the show coming to Springfield in October to meet some members in the area and to be able to see and learn more about these very special rifles.  Again, thank you.

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