Firearms that once belonged to the famous American exhibition shooter Annie Oakley have always been some of the most sought after items highly valued by collectors. And Little Miss Sure Shot’s Stevens Model 44 rifle that was consigned to May 2020 Morphy Extraordinary, Sporting, & Collector Firearms auction, is no exception. This engraved and gold plated single-shot rifle was sold for $528,900 becoming the most expensive lot sold during the May 2020 Morphy auction.
This factory engraved Stevens Model 44 single-shot rifle was custom made to Annie’s specifications. The rifle is chambered in .25-20 Winchester and has a 28″ barrel. The non-gold plated parts are blued and the gun is fitted with deluxe walnut furniture and carved hard rubber buttplate. The left side of the receiver, as shown in the top image of this article, is engraved ” ANNIE OAKLEY” and on the opposite side, you can see similarly high relief engraved “NUTLEY N.J.”, the name of the town where Annie’s and her husband Frank Butler’s first home was located.
Born Phoebe Ann Moses, Annie grew up hunting to provide her family and mastered the art of firearms handling at an early age. In her own words, she had an inherent love for firearms and hunting. Her love for firearms and shooting skills eventually led her to the exhibition shooting world and in 1885 she joined the Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. At this point in her career, she adopted a stage name, Annie Oakley. Lakota Chief Sitting Bull who was also performing in Buffalo Bill’s show gave Annie the name “Watanya Cicilla” or “Little Sure Shot”.
Here is a video published by Morphy Auctions showing how this rifle was sold.
Whenever one of many firearms owned by the Little Miss Sure Shot is consigned to an auction, it’s almost guaranteed that it will be among the top most expensive lots sold during that auction. We’ve previously seen her Marlin 1893 takedown lever-action rifle sold for a little over a quarter million dollars and her Marlin Model 1897 rifle passing the threshold of half-million dollars too.