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were also displayed at the Centennial Exhibition alongside their Model 1873 counterparts. Winchester maintained a stock of exceptional and highly decorated firearms, mostly 1866s that were easier to engrave with a brass frame and virtually obsolete with the improved models of 1873 and 1876. So while the exhibition 1866s are incredibly rare, their 1873 counterparts are extremely limited.
Model 1876 nos. 16139 and 18264 also share with this rifle (no. 18273) an April 19, 1876 received in warehouse date, which was less than one month from the opening of the Philadelphia Centennial International Exhibition of 1876. Nos. 16139 and 18264 were identified as exhibition mates to one of the most culturally significant events of 19th century America that ran from May 10 to November 10, 1876. Nos. 16139 and 18264 were pivotal in uncovering the arms Winchester used in its Centennial display as there is little surviving primary source material. We are honored to catalog another Model 1873 commissioned for the Centennial Exhibition. The serial number 18273 dates to 1876, is nine digits away from a known Centennial Exhibition Model 1873 that shares the April 19, 1876 date, and its opulent configuration of full gold plating and deluxe stock reach the highly finished exhibition quality of arms Winchester displayed at the Centennial Exhibition. Winchester had grand plans for the Centennial display. The company unveiled to the public two new models of firearms: the Model 1876 rifle which was appropriately marketed as “The Centennial Model,” and their first revolver which was a new market for Winchester. They also introduced a new line of refined and expanded ammunition manufacturing capability for which they were awarded a bronze medal by the exhibition judges. Unfortunately, little is known about the display as the limited number of surviving records and photos are scant on details. It has been up to seasoned collectors and researchers to unravel the mystery. The “Souvenir of the Centennial Exhibition
or, Connecticut’s representation at Philadelphia, 1876” is a surviving source providing a brief description of Winchester’s display: “The Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven had a rich and extensive display of weapons, consisting of magazine rifles, field, sporting, and target models. The cases containing them were upright, forming three sides of a square, with projecting counter cases, and in the center an upright, octagonal case...The exhibit included nearly two hundred guns, representing about fifty different styles. The cost of the cases alone was $3,000, and this represents but a fraction of the value of the exhibit”.
These shipments were likely organized by model and were arms meant for exhibition. It is certainly possible that these ten Model 1866s

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