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Historic 1886 Winchester rifle fetches record $1.2 million at auction

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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — A 130-year-old Winchester rifle has been sold at auction for $1.2 million, a world record for the most expensive firearm ever sold.

The gun is marked┬áserial number 1 and is in pristine condition, according to Rock Island Auction Company, but it’s the history the rifles carries with it that drove up the price.

Photo from Rock Island Auction Company

Photo from Rock Island Auction Company

This particular firearm was carried by U.S. Army Captain Henry Ware Lawton, who led the action that captured Apache leader Geronimo in 1886.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

Cpt. Lawton did not carry the rifle at the time of the operation, but a Winchester worker tracked down the coveted serial no. 1 and presented it to Lawton as a gift.

Rock Island Auction Company president Kevin Hogan said “it is an honor to be entrusted with an American treasure.”

“Being serial number one and possessing such outstanding condition would alone be enough to draw six figures at auction,” Hogan added. “When you add one of the most famous names in the history of the Old West you have a huge crossover appeal and set the stage for something special to happen.”

Rock Island said the gun was sold to an anonymous bidder after dozens of gun and Civil War era enthusiasts expressed interest.

Pairs of guns have sold for higher amounts, but the $1.2 million bid for Lawton’s Winchester makes it the highest price anyone has paid for a single firearm.