Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3017: Winchester Model 1894 Takedown Lever Action Rifle John Ulrich

Auction Date: September 10, 2017

Documented Special Order John Ulrich, Deluxe Factory Engraved and Gold Inlaid Winchester Model 1894 Takedown Lever Action Rifle with Birdseye Maple Stock and Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $70,000 - $130,000

Documented Special Order John Ulrich, Deluxe Factory Engraved and Gold Inlaid Winchester Model 1894 Takedown Lever Action Rifle with Birdseye Maple Stock and Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1894
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 25-35 WCF
Barrel: 26 inch part octagon
Finish: blue/gold inlaid
Stock: maple
Item Views: 3383
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 18
Class: Curio & Relic Long Gun

This is truly a unique example of a deluxe, factory engraved gold inlaid Winchester Model 1894 Takedown Sporting Rifle with an exceptional number of rare, special order features. The rifle has Winchester factory engraving with gold inlaid game scenes on either side of the receiver, inlaid gold bands on the barrel at the breech and muzzle and a gold-plated band on the half magazine. It is signed "J ULRICH" on the lower tang. The forearm and pistol grip stock are birdseye maple with factory Style E checkering. The stock has a nickel-plated Swiss buttplate and is inlaid on the right side with a gold-plated oval silver plaque engraved with the monogram "CWC". The rifle has an extra-light, tapered, 26-inch, half-octagon barrel with matted top. The barrel has a King triple bead front sight and buckhorn sporting style rear sight. The receiver has rare factory double set-triggers. The factory letter confirms these features including the caliber, half-octagon matted extra light barrel, set trigger, sights, fancy birdseye maple pistol grip stock with E carving, half magazine, takedown configuration, #6 vignettes both "Damaskeened" in gold, inlaid gold band and scroll, name plate on the stock and Swiss buttplate. The rifle was received in the warehouse on 30 October 1906 and shipped on 12 November 1906. The rifle is accompanied by a two-page description by Winchester expert R.L Wilson that summarizes the special order features documented in the Winchester factory ledgers and concludes: "Rare and unusual, Number 317237 has features which the author has yet to observe on any other custom Winchester, and is among the most exotic of lever-action rifles ever built." The rifle has a blued barrel, half magazine, takedown collar, bolt and receiver with fire-blue loading gate. The hammer and lever are color casehardened. The birdseye maple pistol grip stock and forearm have a high polish piano finish. The pistol grip has a black hard rubber cap, embossed "WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO." The delicate scroll and border engraving covers the receiver, upper and lower tang, bolt, takedown collar, forearm cap, sides of the barrel near the receiver, muzzle and buttplate heel. The left side of the barrel is roll stamped: "MANUFACTURED BY THE WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO./NEW HAVEN. CONN. U.S.A. PATENTED AUGUST 21. 1894" ahead of the rear sight followed by "- NICKEL STEEL BARREL-/ESPECIALLY FOR SMOKELESS POWDER" below the rear sight. The caliber designation "25-35 W.C.F." is located on the left barrel flat in an engraved scalloped and dot panel. The oval Winchester "W/P" proofmarks are stamped on the right barrel flat ahead of the engraving and on the top of the receiver. The upper receiver tang is roll-stamped: "MODEL 1894/-WINCHESTER-/TRADE MARK" with engraved two-line borders. The serial number "317237" is stamped across the bottom of the receiver.

Rating Definition:

Very fine. 80% of the original blue finish is present on the barrel and half magazine; wear is limited to some scattered and very minor spots of age discoloration. The original blue finish on the forearm cap and takedown collar is thin on the contact points and remains about 80% complete. 60% of the original blue is present on the sides of the receiver, upper and lower tang and bolt. The contact points on the receiver edges and bottom show handling wear and have a blue-gray patina. Most of the fire blue finish remains on the loading gate. The hammer and sides of the loading lever show strong and beautiful original case colors. The case colors on the bottom of the lever have faded to a dark gray patina. 95% plus original nickel-plating remains on the buttplate. The highly detailed gold inlaid game scenes remain in excellent condition. The delicate and flawlessly executed factory engraving is sharp. The factory markings on the barrel and receiver are crisp. The action is tight, and the double set-triggers function well. The rare birdseye maple stock and forearm are both in very fine condition and retain 75% of the original piano finish with sharp checkered panels. The stock and forearm have scattered, minor scratches and handling marks with some finish discoloration. This is a very fine example of one of the most elaborate deluxe, special order, gold inlaid Winchester deluxe factory engraved Model 1894 lever action rifles ever manufactured. Provenance: The Press Collection and Robert M. Lee Collection.

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