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    LOT 1062
Historic Marlin Model 1881 Lever Action Rifle with Patriotic Motif Silver Mounts
and R.W. Rock Inscription Attributed to Richard W. Rock aka “Rocky Mountain Dick”
- Serial no. 10033, 40-60 Marlin cal., 28 inch octagon bbl., blue/casehardened/silver finish, decorated walnut stock. This rifle was manufactured c. 1885 and features a Marble Sheard front sight, an adjustable sporting rear sight, the two-line address and patent marking ending in the 1880 date ahead of the rear sight, “40 CAL.” on top at the breech, the serial number on the bottom of the frame at the breech, and a smooth stock and forearm fitted with an iron forend cap and iron buttplate and extensive silver inlays and accents. The inlays look as though they were recycled from a beloved Hawken style rifle.
The four engraved eagle inlays on the right side of the forearm and the sides of the wrist were designed to serve as wedge escutcheons. Four would be the right amount for a half-stock mountain rifle. The bottom of the forearm also has a long wear plate. The right side of the stock has a large three-piece patchbox design with pierced designs and floral engraving. The patchbox is an accent without an actual cavity. There is also a floral engraved comb plate, a large engraved spread wing bald eagle on the left side of the butt, and a long toe plate that runs from the toe to the lower tang and is engraved with a leaf pattern. The inlay on the left side of the forearm is inscribed
“RW ROCK” using dots.
The rifle is accompanied by information about Richard W. Rock, better known as Rocky Mountain Dick. He was born in
1846 or 1847 and came to the West and became infatuated with the wildlife of the region. He was a contemporary and acquaintance of Buffalo Bill Cody and partnered with the famous buffalo hunter “Yellowstone Vic” Smith for five years. Vic had been a scout for George Armstrong Custer, Nelson Miles, and others and was one of Theodore Roosevelt’s “western friends” that he remained in touch with into the 20th century. Smith was photographed with his own Marlin rifle. Rock often was mistakenly said to have also been an army scout. They guided hunting parties in the West and witnessed first-hand the depletion of the buffalo. While Rock and Smith were themselves prolific hunters, they also became key figures in preserving the West’s big game and owned a large ranch name “Smith-Rocksian” with 140 acres enclosed by 10 foot fences at Henry’s Lake in Idaho. Smith sold out in 1890. Rock continued on and kept and raised a variety of wild animals, including bison, mountain goats, elk, black bears, grizzly bears, black tail deer, moose, and pronghorn in addition to his dogs and various birds. Many of the animals were caught by lasso in winter.
Tourists would visit his ranch en-route to Yellowstone National Park. In addition to preventing these species from being extirpated via over-hunting, he also raised the animals to provide meat for market and to supply other ranches and game preserves as well as zoos in the East, including the large game preserve of millionaire Austin Corbin in New Hampshire. Corbin was killed in a carriage crash involving one of the elk. Rock had a famous cow moose named Nellie Bly after the journalist that would pull a cart or sled and race against horses.
Richard W. Rock
aka “Rocky Mountain Dick”

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