Special order Winchester Model 1894 Fancy Sporting Rifle manufactured circa 1910. The rifle features Winchester No. 1 engraving with gold inlaid bands on the barrel muzzle and breech, forearm cap, receiver, bolt, hammer, lever and buttplate and solid gold inlaid game scenes with gold inlaid borders on both sides of the receiver. Nearly identical engraving is illustrated and described in the 1897 Edition of "WINCHESTER HIGHLY FINISHED ARMS" which states: "This ornamentation embraces inlaying, engraving, damascening and hand carving. The receiver is richly engraved on both sides with arabesque scrolls set off by artistic border work." The scrollwork and gold inlaid borders include the top and bottom of the receiver and the top of the bolt. The barrel is engraved with scrolls at the breech and the muzzle. The sides and top of the hammer, sides and bottom of the lever and heel of the buttplate are engraved with fine scrollwork and inlaid with gold lines. The signature of master engraver John Ulrich is stamped in tiny letters on the lower tang behind the trigger. The forearm and pistol grip stock are highly figured, fancy grain walnut with Winchester Style A relief carved scrollwork and a highly polished piano finish. As noted, the Ulrich family was of course the greatest family dynasty of firearms engravers of the 19th century and were also highly regarded for their wood carving ability. The pistol grip has a black hard rubber cap embossed " WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS". A small gold oval plate engraved with a highly detailed crest is inlaid on the lower portion of the stock. The rifle has a 26-inch full octagon barrel and full length magazine. The barrel has a Lyman "Winchester Express" front sight with silver bead and a buckhorn sporting style rear sight. The barrel, magazine, forearm cap, receiver and crescent steel buttplate are blued and the hammer, trigger and loading lever are color casehardened. The left barrel flat is roll-stamped with the two-line legend: "MANUFACTURED BY THE WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO./NEW HAVEN. CONN. U.S.A. PATENTED AUGUST 21. 1894." ahead of the rear sight. "-NICKEL STEEL BARREL-/ESPECIALLY FOR SMOKELESS POWDER" is roll-stamped in two lines on the left side of the barrel immediately below the rear sight. The caliber designation: "30 W.C.F." is stamped on the left side of the barrel immediately in front of the receiver in an engraved panel. Winchester oval "W/P" proofmarks are stamped on the top of the barrel and receiver. The upper receiver tang is roll-stamped: "MODEL 1894/-WINCHESTER-/TRADE MARK REG. IN U.S. PAT. OFF." in three lines surrounded by an engraved oval border. The serial number, "590859", is roll-stamped across the bottom of the receiver. The rifle is complete with a oak case with brass fittings. The case interior is form fitted to the rifle and has blue baize lining. The case contains: (1) a partial box of Winchester 30 W.C.F. cartridges with red paper label, (2) a tube of Winchester gun grease, and (3) a three-piece brass, jointed, Marbles cleaning rod with cloth case. The case has an empty fourth compartment. Provenance: James S. Fowler Collection (see 1971 Antique Arms Annual pg 141), The Mac McCroskie Collection.
Excellent. The rifle is in outstanding condition with only very slight handling wear and retains 97% plus of the original blue and color casehardened finish. The very limited finish wear consists of several small spots of surface pitting on the right barrel flat between the barrel band and the muzzle and some very minor high point wear on the top edges of the receiver and buttplate heel. The case colors on the lever and trigger have faded slightly to a mottled dove gray. The stock has a few very light handling marks and some varnish applied to toe, but the highly detailed relief carving remains very crisp. The forearm has an overcoat of varnish applied on the rear one-third. The intricate arabesque scrollwork and the highly detailed gold inlaid game scenes remain in perfect condition. The period made custom oak case exterior retains most of the varnish finish and is in fine condition. The interior is in very good condition. The lining shows the expected fading and a few minor oil stains but remains in very good overall condition. This is a magnificent example of the very finest and most elaborate engraving, gold inlays and carved woodwork available on a Winchester lever action rifle. Engraved and signed by John Ulrich and complete with the original fitted oak case this is certainly one of the finest Winchester Model 1894 lever action rifles extant with impeccable ownership pedigree.
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