Item # 4011

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Winning Bid US $76190 First bid $40000
Quantity 1 # of bids 7
Time left Auction has ended
Started 2020-07-30 00:00:00
Ended 2020-08-29 07:45:00

Seller assumes all responsibility for listing this item. You should contact the seller to resolve any questions before bidding. Auction currency is U.S. dollars (US $) unless otherwise noted.

EXTREMELY RARE & HISTORICAL ENGRAVED Colt Lightning Rifle Presented to ''TEXAS CHARLIE'', .22 Cal, MFG 1889, SN: 11693, Small Frame Pump Rifle.

HISTORY: While the exact total number of engraved .22 Lightnings can be argued most publications indicate the were only & approximately 20 & of those 18 carried inscriptions. Of those 18, two are known to have been special ordered by the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company for presentation & gifts. One is often regarded or considered to be the ultimate in a .22 lightning & was presented to Dr. B.F. Longstreet by his friends at Kickapoo. The other is this half nickel rifle which is less known in part because it has been tucked away in a private collection for 40+ years & is only being offered now in this auction. The engravings are attributed to 50-year Colt Factory engraver Cuno A Helfricht. The rifle carries a silver plaque on the left side of stock, with the seven line inscription ''PRESENTED TO ''TEXAS CHARLEY'', CHARLES H. BIGELOW, AS A TOKEN OF THEIR REGARD, BY HIS FRIENDS OF KICKAPOO CAMP, HEW HAVEN, MASS. MARCH 1891''. Texas Charlie was a notable figure in Western pioneer life. As a young man he went west & became an Indian scout, during which time he became associated with lifelong friend Colonel F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) & other historical characters of the old frontier. Inspired by Buffalo Bill, he later returned east to the New England area to engage in the manufacture of proprietary medicines & amass his fortune. With friend & fellow Trouper John E. Healy, he started the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company to sell Indian inspired tonics & potions. He did so by traveling the country as a Medicine show or encampments that was part wild west show, part vaudeville. While small engagements may have had only a handful of participants, the soon grew to where these medicine show might include over one hundred Indians, musicians, & performers. The shows might cost 10 cents, maybe even free, but the real money was in the remedies & medicines the sold at the shows costing $.25 to $1. So successful were these traveling shows that at one point they had over 20 troops spread across the United States & Canada. At times, Bigelow himself performed in these shows as an 1883 playbill from an encampment in Albany advertised a program featuring ''Fancy Rifles Shooting, Holding the rifle in twenty different positions by the noted Scout & Indian Fighter, Texas Charlie.'' Over time these traveling shows became increasingly expensive & public interest faded until they ceased to have them before WW1. They were at this point switching over the promotion & sell of their remedies to drug & general stores. Bigelow married at the age of 55 & soon took up residency in Liverpool England where he assisted the English government in securing recruits for the English army at the outbreak of the European War. It was actually in this pursuit that he died at the Huston City Auditorium while giving an address on the importance of the U.S. the Allies in the war. After his death in 1917, the Kickapoo company limped along for a few more years , but finally went out of business in 1920.

RIFLE DESCRIPTION: The factory Lightning wood stocks are excellent & solid, but with a thin tight glue repaired hairline crack running the length of forend. The factory finishes are excellent, with few handling blemishes. The barrel displays 90% of its original factory blue finish, but with light spotty areas of rust speckling or corrosion. The beautiful engraved nickel receiver has an engraved vignette on each side, The Rampant Colt on the left & a Bull Elk on the other, encircled by detailed scroll engraving that covers the rest of the receiver, top & bottom, trigger guard & both tangs. The bore is very good, with strong rifling. Fitted with a side aperture tang mounted peep sight, adjustable rear & flip up globe front sight. The action is tight & smooth. Stock carries a checkered hard rubber Rampant Colt buttplate. The rifle comes with a Colt Factory letter which confirms it being Factory engraved, nickel, its configuration & being sent to Texas Charlie. This is your opportunity to own a fabulous & exceedingly rare factory engraved .22 Lightning with tons of prominence by its original owner.* No FFL Req.

ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS & ITEMS INCLUDED: Colt Factory Letter, Color photographs of the rifle, Excerpts taken from Heroes of the Plains, An original Antique Kickapoo Almanac From 1896, An original Kickapoo Doctor booklet, Over a dozen original Healy & Bigelows Ads marketing their various remedies, Various articles on Colt Lightening Rifles, Engraver Cuno Helfricht, & various engraved Lightnings. Printed documents about Charles Bigelow & Genealogical information on his family. Printed color pages from the Colt Engraving Book Vol. One by R.L. Wilson. Printed items in frames. - Value: 80000 to 120000

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Payment Instructions
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Item # 4011
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  Price:   US $76190  
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