This is a beautiful Deluxe Whitney Sporting rifle, serial number 9611 in 45-70 caliber a with 34″ tapered barrel. When I saw the beauty and condition of this gun plus its obvious pedigree, I had to own and examine it, if only for a short time. The only way to truly learn about antiques is to spend time with them, not look at them in books or gun shows. I'm glad I did, and now its time to send it down the road. The receiver & trigger guard of this great rifle are beautifully engraved by master engraver L.D. Nimschke. The engraving consists of full treatment of the receiver with the small round vignette of 2 quail on the left side and a bird dog on point on the top flat. The remainder of the receiver is engraved in Nimschke's intertwined flowing foliate arabesque patterns with fine pearled background and very fine borders with feather patterns. The hammer, breech block & breech block safety are engraved to match with a variety of patterns including Mr. Nimschke’s trademark diamond & dot patterns. Screw heads are all engraved and the breech block & hammer pins have an engraved rosette around each tip. The trigger guard is engraved to match. The wood is nothing short of spectacular, a shell grain European walnut with a long, tapered checkered forearm that has a horn tip and raised side panels at the receiver with a Sharps style checkered pistol grip butt-stock. It shows a spirit level windgage front sight, no provision for a rear sight & vernier tang sight with 4-3/4″ staff graduated to 800 yards. It has matching numbers on all major parts. This beautiful rifle was originally gold washed and was evidently an exhibition piece for a World Expo, probably the 1876 Colombian Exposition. The tang screws are gold washed also and it appears that the buttplate was nickel plated with nickel plated screws. Rear face of buttstock also has the hand written name “J. Deeks”. Accompanied by 2 small museum acquisition tags from the Cody Firearms Museum. John Deeks was the consignor’s brother and lived in Globe, AZ until the time of his death in 2007. The consignor purchased the rifle from his brother before his death. Previously, the rifle was loaned in 1996 to the Buffalo Bill Historic Center where it remained until transferred for auction in December, 2016. According to Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms only about 5,000 sporting and target rifles were produced by Whitney 1871-1881 and obviously incredibly few were engraved, making this one of the most rare of all single shot rifles. The gun is nearly new & unfired, retaining 99% crisp original blue. Receiver & attached small parts retain traces of gold wash being mostly bright nickel. Inside the receiver, under the wood retains strong gold wash. Buttplate retains about 50% orig nickel. Wood is sound with a few light nicks & scratches and retains most of its orig varnish. Mechanics are crisp, it has a brilliant shiny bore and appears to be unfired. A beautiful firearm.