Published: June 14, 2022
CINCINNATI, OHIO — On June 8, Cowan’s, a Hindman Company, offered a compact sale of 244 lots comprising the frontier firearms from the lifetime collection of Larry Ness of Yankton, S.D.
Assembled over the course of nearly 50 years, the collection was one of the most comprehensive offerings of Native American used and related frontier era arms to ever come to market, and the sale offered a rare opportunity to acquire some of the most desirable firearms from American history.
The sale contained firearms from the Battle of the Little Big Horn, including a Winchester 1st Model 1876 rifle attributed to Sitting Bull. It more than doubled its high estimate to sell for $132,000, including buyer’s premium. The rifle came with extensive documentation supporting the attribution to Sitting Bull (circa 1831-1890). The rifle was supposedly recovered from Sitting Bull’s cabin on the day that he was killed (December 15, 1890) during a botched arrest attempt by US Indian Police. With other weapons recovered the same day it was turned in to Standing Rock Reservation Indian Agent Major James McLaughlin (1842-1923). All of these documents were included with the rifle.
The firearm itself sported a 28-inch octagonal barrel with full magazine and bore serial number 3536. Manufactured circa 1877, it had a blued finish, smooth, straight-gripped walnut stock with crescent butt plate and smooth forend. Its barrel was marked in two lines forward of the rear sight: “Winchesters-Repeating-Arms New Haven, Ct/King’s-Improvement-Patented-March 29, 1866. October 16, 1860.” The upper receiver tang was marked “Model 1876” and the serial number was on the lower tang. That number places this gun at the very end of the 1st Model “open top” Model 1876 production.
Watch for a full review of this sale in an upcoming issue.
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