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Factory engraved M1894 sold at Amoskeag today - real?
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November 19, 2022 - 6:30 pm
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That auction description contains a lot of confidence this is a, “righteous” factory engraved rifle.  I’m not an expert on factory engraving but I am suspicious.  It sees the bidders were suspicious as well as it didn’t hit the low end of the auction reserve.  What do others think?

https://live.amoskeagauction.com/m/lot-details/index/catalog/94/lot/57318?url=%2Fm%2Fview-auctions%2Fcatalog%2Fid%2F94%3Fpage%3D2

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November 19, 2022 - 7:09 pm
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I share your pessimism, Steve. The double-stuck receiver proof stamp is not conclusive but it caught my eye. Speaking of eyes, it seems modern engravers often have trouble getting them right on the deer and elk. I’m probably wrong but it seems to me the fakes appear almost cartoonish while the factory engravers seem more natural. The shading is also apparently hard to get right. Overall quality is not what we usually see with factory engraving. Very doubtful, IMHO.

 

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November 20, 2022 - 2:28 am
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I have it recorded in my survey as aftermarket engraving.

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November 20, 2022 - 4:55 am
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TXGunNut said Speaking of eyes, it seems modern engravers often have trouble getting them right on the deer and elk. I’m probably wrong but it seems to me the fakes appear almost cartoonish while the factory engravers seem more natural. The shading is also apparently hard to get right. Overall quality is not what we usually see with factory engraving. Very doubtful, IMHO.
 

Mike

  

Mike,  You’re not wrong, it’s absolutely CRUDE.  Not that there aren’t contemporary engravers good enough to replicate original factory engraving (esp. in Europe), but the perpetrator of this amateurish job wasn’t one of them.  “Righteous as they come”???  How can the CROOKS at Amoskeag, RIA, etc., continue to get away with this kind of fraud?

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November 20, 2022 - 11:46 am
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Agreed, not original to this firearm and lacks the skill of master engravers that worked in 1913.

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November 20, 2022 - 1:26 pm
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I’ve never collected engraved Winchesters.  My impression was the engraving on this rifle was crude.  That’s why I was surprised to see the auction description identify it as factory engraved.  The statement, “as righteous as they come” leaves me shaking my head.

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November 20, 2022 - 2:15 pm
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steve004 said
 The statement, “as righteous as they come” leaves me shaking my head.

  

After seeing all the other faked guns falsely described by auction house “experts,” you shouldn’t be surprised.  They have nothing to loose by so doing.  If a buyer later claims he was misinformed, the major auction houses will most likely refund his dough, & apologize for their “honest mistake.”  There’s another buyer waiting.

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November 20, 2022 - 2:34 pm
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clarence said

steve004 said

 The statement, “as righteous as they come” leaves me shaking my head.

  

After seeing all the other faked guns falsely described by auction house “experts,” you shouldn’t be surprised.  They have nothing to loose by so doing.  If a buyer later claims he was misinformed, the major auction houses will most likely refund his dough, & apologize for their “honest mistake.”  There’s another buyer waiting.

  

I’m speculating the winning bidder – and maybe all the bidders – knew the engraving on this rifle was not original.  This also explains why it fell far short of the auction estimate.  I sure wouldn’t want it.

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November 20, 2022 - 2:39 pm
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It’s surprising that this came from Perry White’s collection.  Then again, my initial impression was this collection was full of top notch stuff that hadn’t seen the light of day in decades.  Further scrutiny reveals that many Winchester rifles from this collection aren’t quite what they initially seem to be.

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November 20, 2022 - 2:47 pm
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steve004 said I’m speculating the winning bidder – and maybe all the bidders – knew the engraving on this rifle was not original.  This also explains why it fell far short of the auction estimate.  I sure wouldn’t want it.
  

Possibly so, but that hardly excuses the outrageously false description. 

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November 20, 2022 - 4:17 pm
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clarence said

steve004 said I’m speculating the winning bidder – and maybe all the bidders – knew the engraving on this rifle was not original.  This also explains why it fell far short of the auction estimate.  I sure wouldn’t want it.

  

Possibly so, but that hardly excuses the outrageously false description. 

  

What has me scratching my head even more is this rifle is featured on that glossy cover of their auction catalog – dead center – the most highlighted piece of the auction! 

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November 20, 2022 - 4:50 pm
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Now this Gustave Young engraved Smith & Wesson Baby Russian IS genuine, and sold for a surprisingly low amount.

https://live.amoskeagauction.com/m/lot-details/index/catalog/94/lot/57359?url=%2Fm%2Fview-auctions%2Fcatalog%2Fid%2F94%3Flotnum%3D91

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November 20, 2022 - 5:30 pm
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mrcvs said
Now this Gustave Young engraved Smith & Wesson Baby Russian IS genuine, and sold for a surprisingly low amount.

https://live.amoskeagauction.com/m/lot-details/index/catalog/94/lot/57359?url=%2Fm%2Fview-auctions%2Fcatalog%2Fid%2F94%3Flotnum%3D91

  

I sure don’t question the engraving on that one!  

The Smith and Wesson collectors must not have been out in force yesterday.

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November 20, 2022 - 6:04 pm
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Well maybe we are seeing a market correction now. I tuned into the auction yesterday and what I saw was the big dollar stuff failing to meet the low end estimate consistently, yet the mid line guns generally came close to mid range. Now today the more lower priced stuff is hitting the high end and over.

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November 20, 2022 - 6:21 pm
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oldcrankyyankee said
Well maybe we are seeing a market correction now. I tuned into the auction yesterday and what I saw was the big dollar stuff failing to meet the low end estimate consistently, yet the mid line guns generally came close to mid range. Now today the more lower priced stuff is hitting the high end and over.

  

That’s my sentiments as well.  The high end stuff is becoming ever so more reasonable.  The junk still is overpriced.

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November 20, 2022 - 6:27 pm
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Never forget, those with deep pockets have them for a reason!

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November 25, 2022 - 2:11 pm
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I had been meaning to compare the Amoskeag Auction “engraved” Model 1894 rifle with a known example of an engraved Model 1894 rifle, but I didn’t get around to it until now.

This one is a great example for which to compare the Amoskeag rifle:

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/72/9/factory-engraved-winchester-deluxe-model-1894-takedown-rifle

Let’s start with the obvious.  The known example passes muster-short of complete fabrication of the letter and/or falsification of the serial number-simply because it does have a factory letter.  The Amoskeag example does not, simply because of the serialization range.  Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t nice, factory engraved examples that are out of letter range, but it’s awfully convenient.

Then there’s the forge marks.  Present on the known example, absent on the Amoskeag example.  Again, the absence of which does not indicate later rebluing or even intentional deception, but the presence of this strongly suggests originality.  Present in the known example, absent in the Amoskeag example.

Let’s also note that these rifles, even if close in number to each other, could have been engraved by two different factory engravers. However, the style of engravers employed by Winchester was similar in composition, but the quality might differ to some degree, but not significantly.  The Amoskeag example is more of amateur quality than the known example.  A factory engraver would have to be able to engrave a lifelike example of any wildlife on a firearm.  This is clearly the case with the known example.  Even a whitetail deer in stride!  The engraver of the Amoskeag example has enough difficulty executing a deer that is stationary, let alone in motion.  The deer on the left side of the receiver is anatomically incorrect.  Virtually no neck present.  Others already stated that the deer look cartoonish.  The deer depicted on the right side does not appear lifelike, either.  It’s either in significant discomfort or walking on eggshells.

Now, let’s look at the scrollwork.  On the known example, the main scroll and sub-scrolls off the main one, are gracefully executed.  There are parallel lines to indicate depth or give more of a 3-D feel.  In the Amoskeag example, scrolls are not nearly as  graceful, much less in number are sub-scrolls and these are less elaborate and lack detail.

Then there’s the engraver’s use of background fill.  This should never be underestimated.  The Amoskeag example displays two types, one approaching stippling and the other being round circles, much too mechanical in form.  Compare that with the known example, these being of the right size and placement to add depth and enhance the composition.  The Amoskeag example contains patterns that are so mechanical in form and placement, not to mention depth, that they are just used to create “fill”, and actually detract from the end result.  A good engraver, especially one who is commissioned to engrave a pattern of lesser cost, so the engraving is not as extensive, fully understands that “less is more”.  The Amoskeag example demonstrates the engraver did not understand this concept or, if a significantly engraved example is desired, his grasp of how to execute background “fill” was limited.

The border of the known example, while not elaborate, is stylish.  The Amoskeag example is simply bordered with a wavy line and dots.  My observations are that usually engraving of this extent is accompanied by border work more in line with the known example than with the Amoskeag example.  Also, the border of the known example is “framed” by lines paralleling the border work.  The Amoskeag example lacks this.  Most 19th & early 20th Century with engraving of this extent and quality would be dressed up with encasement with simple line work framing the border engraving.

Lastly, in my experience, I have noted that the handling of screws/pins/holes as with the known example, is that they are ignored like they don’t exist, or, at most, one line paralleling the round screw, but not completely encircling it, is utilized.  Two screws on the left side of the known example are handled in this manner.  The rest of the screws/pins/holes are handled like they aren’t even there.  The Amoskeag example works around almost all screw/pin/hole “intrusions” and uses them to dictate the composition of the engraving.  It appears on at least two occasions on the Amoskeag example that screws are dictating the end point of a scroll.  In other words, the screw is used to create a scroll emanating from it.  I have not seen this in any known late 19th/early 20th Century work.  By ignoring the screws/pins/holes, in most cases, as with the known example, it detracts from the prominence of these intrusions, as it well should.  With regards to the Amoskeag example, it draws your eyes to them, making them more prominent.

Why the engraver of the known example didn’t just ignore these other two screws is a mystery to me except maybe he thought that these being located along some border work were better handled by encirclement rather than a small incursion upon the flow of the border work.

For these reasons, the Amoskeag example is clearly not factory work.  I’m surprised they featured it prominently on the cover of their latest auction catalogue.  It really deserves to be buried somewhere in the depths of the catalogue.  I’m guessing, however, that this example was placed so prominently on the cover simply because the auction house did believe the work was true factory engraving.

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November 25, 2022 - 3:11 pm
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mrcvs said
I had been meaning to compare the Amoskeag Auction “engraved” Model 1894 rifle with a known example of an engraved Model 1894 rifle, but I didn’t get around to it until now.

This one is a great example for which to compare the Amoskeag rifle:

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/72/9/factory-engraved-winchester-deluxe-model-1894-takedown-rifle

Let’s start with the obvious.  The known example passes muster-short of complete fabrication of the letter and/or falsification of the serial number-simply because it does have a factory letter.  The Amoskeag example does not, simply because of the serialization range.  Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t nice, factory engraved examples that are out of serialization range, but it’s awfully convenient.

Then there’s the forge marks.  Present on the known example, absent on the Amoskeag example.  Again, the absence of which does not indicate later rebluing or even intentional deception, but the presence of this strongly suggests originality.  Present in the known example, absent in the Amoskeag example.

Let’s also note that these rifles, even if close in number to each other, could have been engraved by two different factory engravers. However, the style of engravers employed by Winchester was similar in composition, but the quality might differ to some degree, but not significantly.  The Amoskeag example is more of amateur quality than the known example.  A factory engraver would have to be able to engrave a lifelike example of any wildlife on a firearm.  This is clearly the case with the known example.  Even a whitetail deer in stride!  The engraver of the Amoskeag example has enough difficulty executing a deer that is stationary, let alone in motion.  The deer on the left side of the receiver is anatomically incorrect.  Virtually no neck present.  Others already stated that the deer look cartoonish.  The deer depicted on the right side does not appear lifelike, either.  It’s either in significant discomfort or walking on eggshells.

Now, let’s look at the scrollwork.  On the known example, the main scroll and sub-scrolls off the main one, are gracefully executed.  There are parallel lines to indicate depth or give more of a 3-D feel.  In the Amoskeag example, scrolls are not nearly as  graceful, much less in number are sub-scrolls and these are less elaborate and lack detail.

Then there’s the engraver’s use of background fill.  This should never be underestimated.  The Amoskeag example displays two types, one approaching stippling and the other being round circles, much too mechanical in form.  Compare that with the known example, these being of the right size and placement to add depth and enhance the composition.  The Amoskeag example contains patterns that are so mechanical in form and placement, not to mention depth, that they are just used to create “fill”, and actually detract from the end result.  A good engraver, especially one who is commissioned to engrave a pattern of lesser cost, so the engraving is not as extensive, fully understands that “less is more”.  The Amoskeag example demonstrates the engraver did not understand this concept or, if a significantly engraved example is desired, his grasp of how to execute background “fill” was limited.

The border of the known example, while not elaborate, is stylish.  The Amoskeag example is simply bordered with a wavy line and dots.  My observations are that usually engraving of this extent is accompanied by border work more in line with the known example than with the Amoskeag example.  Also, the border of the known example is “framed” by lines paralleling the border work.  The Amoskeag example lacks this.  Most 19th & early 20th Century with engraving of this extent and quality would be dressed up with encasement with simple line work framing the border engraving.

Lastly, in my experience, I have noted that the handling of screws/pins/holes as with the known example, is that they are ignored like they don’t exist, or, at most, one line paralleling the round screw, but not completely encircling it, is utilized.  Two screws on the left side of the known example are handled in this manner.  The rest of the screws/pins/holes are handled like they aren’t even there.  The Amoskeag example works around almost all screw/pin/hole “intrusions” and uses them to dictate the composition of the engraving.  It appears on at least two occasions on the Amoskeag example that screws are dictating the end point of a scroll.  In other words, the screw is used to create a scroll emanating from it.  I have not seen this in any known late 19th/early 20th Century work.  By ignoring the screws/pins/holes, in most cases, as with the known example, it detracts from the prominence of these intrusions, as it well should.  With regards to the Amoskeag example, it draws your eyes to them, making them more prominent.

Why the engraver of the known example didn’t just ignore these other two screws is a mystery to me except maybe he thought that these being located along some border work were better handled by encirclement rather than a small incursion upon the flow of the border work.

For these reasons, the Amoskeag example is clearly not factory work.  I’m surprised they featured it prominently on the cover of their latest auction catalogue.  It really deserves to be buried somewhere in the depths of the catalogue.  I’m guessing, however, that this example was placed so prominently on the cover simply because the auction house did believe the work was true factory engraving.

  

Thanks for taking the time to write all this out and take us through your thought processes.  It’s a great example of why this forum is a great educational experience.  It’s sort of like attending an on-line, “Winchester University” Smile

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November 25, 2022 - 6:31 pm
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The good restorers have spent years copying (smoking) all the engraved guns they could get their hands on so when the time came when they needed one they have a template to copy.

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November 25, 2022 - 6:52 pm
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Chuck said
The good restorers have spent years copying (smoking) all the engraved guns they could get their hands on so when the time came when they needed one they have a template to copy.

  

Templates can be acquired by other means, it’s the skill & experience, once provided by the apprentice system, that’s in short supply today.  Not that long ago, every jewelry shop, & most watch repair shops, employed an on-site engraver; now, try to find a watch shop outside of major cities. 

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