The 1886 Winchester model rifle has become the most expensive single gun ever to be sold at an auction. At a price tag of $1.265 million, the Rock Island Auction Company in Illinois, the gun remains in prime condition even at 130 years old. The price is justified because of the rich history it comes with.
This rifle was given as a gift to Captain Henry Ware Lawton who capture Apache leader Geronimo in 1886. The captain’s friend, and ‘brother-in-arms during the Civil War’, Lieutenant George E Albee (who was working for Winchester guns at the time) gifted this gun to him as a token of appreciation for his achievement.
Capturing Geronimo was on top priority for the American and Mexican authorities at the time and this feat was hence considered one of remarkable value.
The rifle is also a pioneer in setting standards among others worldwide, in addition to its easy lever action that offered ‘unprecedented stability and power.’ It is a collector’s treasure, no doubt. Did you know that there is a tradition of yelling ‘geronimo’ while jumping off a plane, and even that comes this spirited Apache leader?
Apparently, sometime in the 1940s during a feasibility study by the US army on soldiers parachuting from airplanes, one Private decided to use this name in play of dare with his fellow soldiers. He was teased that he would forget his own name after jumping the airplane. and to prove that he wouldn’t, he announced that he would yell ‘Geronimo’. The name stuck, and became an official usage in the ‘501st Parachute Infantry Battalion in 1941, which was the first combat ready parachute unit, they put “Geronimo” on their insignia and most of the troops would yell it as they jumped from the planes’.
And the word Geronimo itself was put by Mexican soldiers who were trying to capture the invincible Native American who fought them all single handedly using just a knife for defence. The soldiers cried out to their Saint Jerome for help. And hence. Stories and stories, are what becomes us humans, aren’t they?