Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 11: 0

Auction Date: September 9, 2016

Well-Documented, Historic Incredibly Rare, and Desirable Ira Flanders Factory Inscribed 1 of 1,000 Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Factory Letter, and Winchester Advertisement History Relating to Owner

Estimated Price: $85,000 - $150,000

Well-Documented, Historic Incredibly Rare, and Desirable Ira Flanders Factory Inscribed 1 of 1,000 Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Factory Letter, and Winchester Advertisement History Relating to Owner

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1873
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44-40 WCF
Barrel: 28 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1760
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 14
Class: Antique
Description:

There were actually only 133 Model 1873 1 of 1,000 rifles manufactured by Winchester, and according to "Winchester's New Model of 1873: A Tribute Vol. 2" by James Gordon only 63 were uncovered for their survey. This particularly rifle is noted on page 460 in their list of personal inscriptions by serial number and notes "I Flanders:" and "One of a Thousand." The personalized inscription is pictured on page 462. On page 382, the 1 of 1,000 marking is pictured, and the rifle is briefly discussed. It is also pictured and discussed in R. L. Wilson's "Winchester: The Golden Age of American Gunmaking and the Winchester 1 of 1000" on page 64. Based on the factory records surveyed by Gordon and Wilson, this rifle was the 9th 1 of 1,000 built and is one of only nine whose stock is not mentioned in the ledgers. All 1 of 1,000s were based on barrels selected as the best out of each thousand produced and received extra attention in fit and finishing. The factory letter confirms this rifle shipped on May 10, 1875, with the following features: rifle, 28 inch octagon barrel, set trigger, short magazine, "1 Of 1000," and "I Flanders." One other gun was with it in order number 3114. All of the features mentioned match the current configuration. It has "Ira Flanders" inscribed in script on the left side of the action, an unusually crude "1 of 1000" panel on the barrel at the breech (only example with this marking found), a half magazine, and a single set trigger. The dust cover is the correct early style with a checkered "thumb print" and is fitted to mortised guides in the top of the frame. The stock and forearm are smooth walnut, and the sights consist of standard German silver blade front and adjustable sporting rear sights on the barrel and a long range Vernier peep sight mounted on the upper tang. The included documents demonstrate that Ira Proctor Flanders (1831-1915) was a Civil War veteran from Plattsburgh, New York. He served in C Company of the 16th Regiment of New York Volunteer Infantry briefly between August and December 1862 before being discharged due to disability relating to health issues commonly caused by dysentery and other ailments prevalent in the Civil War camps. He is listed as a blacksmith on his death certificate and in Federal Census records for 1870. In "Forest and Stream" Volume 7 from 1876 on page 128 is a Winchester advertisement which includes a target shot off-hand at 400 yards by Flanders in Saranac, New York, near Plattsburgh in July of 1875 with 8 bullseyes and two shots in the second ring in. The target was almost certainly shot with this very rifle given the shipping date on the letter and the renowned accuracy of the 1 of 1,000 rifles. Included with the lot is an oval sepia-tone portrait of a young man in an early 20th century military uniform with "163" one the shoulders.

Rating Definition:

Fair. The patinated metal surfaces have light pitting overall. The markings and name inscription are crisp, but the 1 of 1,000 mark is somewhat obscure. The revarnished wood is fair and has a hairline crack along the top left of the forearm, a crack in the front of the forearm, various scratches, and some small dents. The action and set trigger function very well. This is a unique opportunity to get your hands on a very well documented Winchester Model 1873 1 of 1,000 lever action rifle with unique inscription and unusual 1 of 1,000 marking.



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