This was quite a find! A family was cleaning out their grandfather's garage and came across these. This Winchester 1875 reloading tool and an extremely rare 1st Model Scissor handle brass mold in .44 WCF were found together in an old box. They are totally untouched with many years of dirt, crud, and a bit of rust. It is quite likely that they have together since they were new. We can only wonder about the fate of the Winchester 1st Model 1873 rifle or carbine they once serviced back in the days of the frontier. These date to around 1875 or 1876. The Model 1875 tools are not terribly uncommon but the 1st Model brass molds are super rare. I've been collecting since the 1980's and this is only the second example we've had. The last one was about ten years ago. It too, came from the western United States. See link:
The early spoon-handled Model 1875 tool is marked .44 WCF and externally has about 25% of its original gold paint over its original cast iron surface. The inside of the tool has about 60% original gold paint. It has the OCT 20. 1874 patent date cast into the upper handle. This one also has the extra cut and decapper pick for removing the stubborn Berdan primers. Like most, the other decapper which came loose for removing the boxer primed cases is long gone.
The 1st Model Winchester Scissor handle mold is in great shape and has never been cleaned. There is some surface rust on the iron sprue cutter. I'm sure it will clean up nicely but we're not going to touch it. The brass has a very nice dark patina with a fair bit of dirt and crud. In looking at it closely, we found that this one is actually marked with the caliber on the left side which reads just like the tool, "44 W.C.F." It is difficult to see, not due to wear, but because it's under a lot of dirt which has never been cleaned. We took a couple of photos of it so hopefully, it will reveal itself provided you look closely. There is at least one other known 1st Model scissor handle mold with this same marking. That particular mold was once in the Lewis Yearout collection and I know the current owner. In a discussion posted about it, one collector presented an interesting theory that the mold would not have been marked with a .44 WCF caliber designation until the year 1876 when the Model 1876 Winchester rifle in 45-75 WCF was introduced. This might explain why it was found with this early but slightly later Model 1875 tool instead of the Model 1874 reloader which was produced for just one year. Before we found this pair, I had always assumed that this mold would have only been Model 1874 tool. With the caliber marking designation and the fact that this was found with a Model 1875, this could lend some historical insight towards the span of production for these early molds. I will have to leave that up to the research guys. That said though, we are going to sell these as a pair. They would make a great addition to any early period Winchester collection and would go nicely with a 1st Model 1873 rifle or carbine.