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Winchester 1886 from 1895 in .45-90
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December 25, 2022 - 5:31 pm
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78C65387-483C-450D-95DE-AAE023191F4D.jpegImage Enlarger

Well, for some reason this one ended up upside down.

I was going to create this post today, as I recalled it saying Christmas 1895, and the inscription, but it just has the inscription and “1895”.  On the theme of Christmas, I probably got this book Christmas of 1985 or so, The Winchester Book, by George Madis.

This rifle was in the Felix Bedlan collection at the time George Madis published his book.  Has it surfaced since?

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December 25, 2022 - 8:19 pm
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lan – Felix Bedlan passed away in March 2019. Some of the finest Winchesters passed thru his hands. His family still runs his gun shop in Nebraska and often has guns from his personal collection for sale – the 86 in the Madis Book may be among them. They currently have this Henry from his personal collection up for sale – lots of good photos of the gun on their website – it is the highest condition Henry I have ever seen – except for the Lincoln Henry in the Museum of Natural History which I have starred at many times – check it out!!

bedlanhenry.jpgImage Enlarger

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December 26, 2022 - 6:42 pm
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mrcvs said
78C65387-483C-450D-95DE-AAE023191F4D.jpegImage Enlarger

Well, for some reason this one ended up upside down.

I was going to create this post today, as I recalled it saying Christmas 1895, and the inscription, but it just has the inscription and “1895”.  On the theme of Christmas, I probably got this book Christmas of 1985 or so, The Winchester Book, by George Madis.

This rifle was in the Felix Bedlan collection at the time George Madis published his book.  Has it surfaced since?

  

If it has surfaced, Oldcrankyyankee is probably out hunting deer with it.  He does like to hunt with an ’86 in .45-90 Laugh

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December 26, 2022 - 6:51 pm
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I apologize for the thread creep.  I used to enjoy a visit Bedlan’s shop when I was in that part of the country.  I loved to ogle all the nice Winchesters and other guns on the wall.  

Good times!

I call myself a collector as it sounds better than hoarder

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December 26, 2022 - 8:40 pm
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Bill Hockett said
I apologize for the thread creep.  I used to enjoy a visit Bedlan’s shop when I was in that part of the country.  I loved to ogle all the nice Winchesters and other guns on the wall.  

Good times!

  

It brings back good memories for me – I used to drool over his ads in the Shotgun News and Gun List for decades!  When I lived in Houston (over 40 years ago) I’d see him at the big Astro Hall show – he always had really nice stuff.  

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December 26, 2022 - 11:47 pm
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Well Steve there are two things I’m sure of and one I’m pretty certain of. First the surety, if I had this one you would know and yes I would hunt it, although only on nice days! Thing I’m fairly certain of is that it has changed hands. Believe it sold at RIA about 2 years ago.

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December 26, 2022 - 11:54 pm
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Ha I found it. September 2021 premier. But it did not sell. Lot #3017.  

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December 27, 2022 - 12:01 am
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oldcrankyyankee said
Ha I found it. September 2021 premier. But it did not sell. Lot #3017.  

  

I just found it too.  Here’s the link for anyone who wants to see better photos:

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/83/3017/silver-trimmed-winchester-deluxe-model-1886-lever-action-rifle

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December 27, 2022 - 12:19 am
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The inscription to me does not look factory, but the way it was presented in Madis’s book, it seemed to imply it was factory.  The letter makes no mention of the inscription, which means that Madis presents this in a bit of a misleading fashion.

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December 27, 2022 - 1:47 am
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mrcvs said
The inscription to me does not look factory, but the way it was presented in Madis’s book, it seemed to imply it was factory.  The letter makes no mention of the inscription, which means that Nadis presents this in a bit of a misleading fashion.

  

In my humble opinion this 45-90 is a super Winchester. The gun was obviously a gift and it was common in those days to have your local engraver do his thing on a presentation gun. Obviously, you could have the gun ordered from the factory with a inscription but it was very common and probably cheaper to have your local engraver do the inscription. Clarence just made a comment the other day about how common good engravers were in those days. I am not enough of an expert to know if the inscription is factory but it would not keep me from owning the gun because it is nicely done. This is not one of those guns we see all the time which has been screwed with and someone trying to fake it. I am confident Felix Bedlan would not have owned and kept until he died a problem gun. I am surprised it did not sell and we see many lesser guns sell for more than the estimate on this one. Early gun, full octagon, full magazine, rifle butt and pistol grip – this is what they want.

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December 27, 2022 - 3:18 pm
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Burt Humphrey said

mrcvs said

The inscription to me does not look factory, but the way it was presented in Madis’s book, it seemed to imply it was factory.  The letter makes no mention of the inscription, which means that Nadis presents this in a bit of a misleading fashion.

  

In my humble opinion this 45-90 is a super Winchester. The gun was obviously a gift and it was common in those days to have your local engraver do his thing on a presentation gun. Obviously, you could have the gun ordered from the factory with a inscription but it was very common and probably cheaper to have your local engraver do the inscription. Clarence just made a comment the other day about how common good engravers were in those days. I am not enough of an expert to know if the inscription is factory but it would not keep me from owning the gun because it is nicely done. This is not one of those guns we see all the time which has been screwed with and someone trying to fake it. I am confident Felix Bedlan would not have owned and kept until he died a problem gun. I am surprised it did not sell and we see many lesser guns sell for more than the estimate on this one. Early gun, full octagon, full magazine, rifle butt and pistol grip – this is what they want.

  

Burt – I agree with your comments.  I too, like the rifle a lot.  I suspect the fact that the factory ledger doesn’t mention the engraving was a big factor in it not selling.  

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December 27, 2022 - 4:15 pm
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I agree, other than the lack of this inscription being mentioned in the factory letter, this is a nice rifle.  I was disappointed that George Madis gave the impression this was factory work when it likely isn’t.

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December 27, 2022 - 7:27 pm
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mrcvs said
I agree, other than the lack of this inscription being mentioned in the factory letter, this is a nice rifle.  I was disappointed that George Madis gave the impression this was factory work when it likely isn’t.

  

The Madis Book only says the gun has a dated inscription and that it is a rare feature. When you start talking to guys who own inscribed guns you realize how common it was to take a Winchester to an after factory engraver for a nice presentation inscription. The guy at the auction company who did the write-up for the gun did it a dis-service when he implied it might be factory. Look at the WACA home page and the Henry Rifle with the presentation inscription – was it done by the factory? The write-up about the gun says the inscription is “old, authentic and of the period”. I believe the same can be said for the Bedlan gun. I think both Felix Bedlan and Madis probably knew the gun inscription was done after purchase and neither tried to mis-represent it –  only the auction company did that. I guess that is the job of the auction company – to create hype – might have backfired on them for this gun if indeed the reason for it not selling was the inscription and whether it was factory. Bedlan had the gun from at least 1967 and still had it when he died in 2019 – he must have been pretty proud of the gun! Personally, I would not want to own an engraved Winchester unless it could be documented as factory work. However, when it comes to a simple “presentation inscription”, I would not be detoured by an after market inscription if i liked everything else about the gun – and if it was apparant the inscription was dated to the time when the gun was originally purchased. I often cannot understand guys paying big bucks, too much, for guns which are not right and then a nice Winchester like this one does not sell.

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December 27, 2022 - 9:36 pm
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steve004 said

It brings back good memories for me – I used to drool over his ads in the Shotgun News and Gun List for decades!  When I lived in Houston (over 40 years ago) I’d see him at the big Astro Hall show – he always had really nice stuff. 

Steve, we might have passed one another, though 40 yrs ago was near the end of my tenure in that area.  But his table was one I generally passed by quickly, knowing there was unlikely to be anything there a poor boy could afford, and, with hundreds of other tables to be seen, having no time to waste merely spectating.  Several other of the big-ticket dealers (Conlon was one) I likewise passed with hardly a glance, but oddly enough one I did make a point of visiting was Leroy Merz!  I was mainly interested in single-shots at the time, & he often had a few; in fact I still have a Ballard .22 I bought there. 

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December 28, 2022 - 12:52 am
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I too have drooled on this rifle. My problem is why ridicule it? So be it that it May have been engraved “after market”, if it may have been. Hell Colt sold pistols all over to dealers in the white to be dealer engraved, but no gripping about that.  Would anyone really throw it out of the bed? IMHO it’s a one of a kind and should be treated as such, just saying. And to answer the question, darn straight I would hunt with it!

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August 28, 2023 - 11:00 am
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This rifle hammered at $16,000 yesterday at RIA.  With buyer’s premium, it’s $18,800, and with my sales tax it would have been $19,928.  Over 20k once one accounts for shipping.

Worth every penny if I had not educated myself with regards to Winchesters over the years.  Due to the following, I didn’t bid on it and don’t bother with problem guns anymore:

First, the most obvious.  The engraving is clearly not factory.  Of course, RIA will lie and say it was overlooked in the factory letter, as that increases the value of the rifle—at least in their eyes.  The work, although quality and aesthetically pleasing, was not factory and was likely done by the local jeweler in 1895.  The value is aesthetics, and adds to the rifle some, but not as if factory.  Then it mentions pitting on the left side of the magazine near the muzzle.  I don’t see that.  It doesn’t mean that it isn’t there and that even it’s there and correct, but I don’t see it on my phone.  But if on a monitor, which I don’t have access to, was cold bluing applied.

Then, the sliver in the upper tang.  And it appears the upper tang is proud to the wood, and also proud to the buttplate.  And the checkering on the forearm is much more crisp than that of the buttstock.  All this suggests to me the buttstock is likely refinished, probably at the time of the sliver repair.

Lastly, I don’t know how much weight to place on a forearm with a gap between the rear of it and the receiver?  Often it indicates a replaced forearm, but I don’t think this to be the case here.  Wood should shrink less longitudinally than laterally, and I much prefer no longitudinal shrinkage.

I wonder if this sold or if Bedlan heirs placed a reserve on it again?  I called about it in January and hoped they would sell it to me privately.  They never called me back until last week to inform me of the upcoming auction.  So much for avoiding auction house  fees!  On the other hand, it worked out better in the end because I would have been unhappy with this rifle for the aforementioned problems as discussed.

Here’s the link from yesterday’s auction:

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/89/3045/factory-silver-trimmed-winchester-deluxe-model-1886-rifle

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have such a critical eye as, if this was the case, I would have been a very happy new owner of this Model 1886 rifle.

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August 28, 2023 - 11:14 pm
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Thoughts anyone?

I should say my disappointment relative to what this rifle is, and what I thought it could be, equates to when I found out Santa Claus wasn’t real.

(Sorry if I spoiled this for anyone, LOL!)

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August 29, 2023 - 2:29 am
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mrcvs said
Thoughts anyone?

I should say my disappointment relative to what this rifle is, and what I thought it could be, equates to when I found out Santa Claus wasn’t real.

(Sorry if I spoiled this for anyone, LOL!)

  

At least you weren’t the “winning” bidder. I think your theory about the inscription is likely accurate. I can’t see much value other than to family members and apparently they don’t want it.

 

Mike

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August 29, 2023 - 8:24 am
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TXGunNut said

mrcvs said

Thoughts anyone?

I should say my disappointment relative to what this rifle is, and what I thought it could be, equates to when I found out Santa Claus wasn’t real.

(Sorry if I spoiled this for anyone, LOL!)

  

At least you weren’t the “winning” bidder. I think your theory about the inscription is likely accurate. I can’t see much value other than to family members and apparently they don’t want it.

Mike  

I think this is correct.  I think this rifle should be valued as it is—a silver plated Winchester 1886 rifle with the deficiencies described in my Post 17, above.  The engraving, being not factory, neither adds nor detracts from this rifle, as it is at least attractive.  And, since it is known to exist well over half a century ago, as documented in Madis’ book, and before there was incentive to fake or modify Winchesters for significant monetary gain, at least it can be proven to exist probably since 1895.

I suppose if I wanted something like this badly enough, I could take a nice 1886, without the problems identified, take it to the local jeweler or other similar form, and have engraved on it whatever I desire. 

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