This is an exceptional, totally original example of a documented Winchester One of One Thousand Model 1876 "Centennial Rifle" with Cody Firearms Museum letter. Winchester manufactured only 54 Model 1876 One of One Thousand rifles. The Model 1876 One of One Thousand rifles are significantly more rare than the 136 Model 1873 One of One Thousand rifles. The Cody letter describes "Model 1876, serial number 9768" as: "Rifle, 45/60, 26-inch, octagon barrel, Set trigger, Checkered stock, Casehardened", and "1 of 1000". The letter further states that this rifle was shipped from Winchester on November 25, 1879. This rifle features the "Fourth Style" One of One Thousand engraving. The top barrel flat of this rifle is engraved "One of One Thousand" in a panel with dot and scallop borders and scrollwork flourish at the muzzle end. Scroll and punch-dot panels are engraved on the barrel flats at the receiver and muzzle. In addition, the barrel has a single platinum band inlaid on the the breech and muzzle. The rifle has the second style receiver with screw-fastened dust cover guide and dust cover with impressed, oval, finger guide. The full octagon barrel has a sporting style front sight with nickel-silver blade and folding leaf rear sight calibrated to "10" and marked "1876" on the top of the leaf. The upper tang is factory drilled and tapped. The receiver has a single set-trigger.The crescent buttplate has a sliding brass trap door. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped with the two-line Winchester legend: "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29. 1866. OCTOBER 16. 1860" ahead of the rear sight. The caliber designation: "CAL. 45-60" is hand engraved on the top barrel flat between the Winchester legend and the rear sight. "MODEl 1876." is roll-stamped in fancy letters on the upper receiver tang. "45-60" is roll-stamped in script numerals across the brass cartridge elevator. The serial number, "9768" is roll-stamped in script numerals on the lower tang between the lever latch and the rear tang screw. The barrel, magazine, barrel band and trigger have the Winchester charcoal blue finish. The loading gate and dust cover are niter blue. The forearm cap, receiver, hammer, lever and crescent buttplate are color case-hardened. The stock and forearm are highly figured, fancy grain, walnut with the early style Winchester checkering and a piano finish. The Winchester One of One Thousand Model 1876 and Model 1873 rifles are the best known and most desirable of all Winchester firearms. "One of One Thousand" is closely associated with Model 1873 rifles due to the 1950 movie "WINCHESTER '73" and subsequent Winchester factory promotions to take advantage of the movie publicity. However, advanced collectors understand that One of One Thousand Model 1876 rifles are far rarer and at least as valuable as the Model 1873 rifles. In "WINCHESTER ENGRAVING" published in 1975, author R.L. Wilson noted that "about 40" Model 1873 One of One Thousand rifles had been located but only TEN Model 1876 One of One Thousand rifles were known to collectors. The Model 1876 Winchester One in One Thousand rifles are almost certainly the the rarest and most desirable Winchester lever action rifles.
Exceptionally fine. The barrel retains 85% plus of the original blue finish with some very minor high point wear. The "One of One Thousand" markings and scroll and punch-dot engraving on the breech and muzzle are extremely sharp. The inlaid platinum bands on the breech and muzzle are excellent and tarnished. The factory legend and caliber designation are crisp. The magazine has a 1-inch spot of discoloration on the left side about 2-inches below the barrel band. The loading gate has 80% of the fire blue finish remaining. The delicate niter blue finish on the dust cover shows handling wear and is 30% intact with the balance a silver-gray patina. The forearm cap retains 75% of the faded case colors. The receiver has 80% strong case colors on the top, bottom, right front and sideplates with some scattered patches of age discoloration. The left front of the receiver has two spots of shallow pitting which were cleaned long ago removing two small areas of case color each about 3/4-inch in length. The upper tang shows expected handling wear and has a smooth silver patina. Nearly 90% of the muted case colors are present on the hammer. The lever has some silvering on the contact points on the bottom and right side with stronger case colors on the left side. The buttplate has strong case colors on the heel with silvering and minor age spotting on the bottom. The well-figured walnut stock and forearm remain excellent with nearly 90% of the original piano finish intact and sharp checkering. Wear is limited to a few scattered and very minor storage and handling marks. This is an exceptional example of a fully documented, ultra-rare and extremely desirable Winchester One of One Thousand Centennial Model 1876 rifle. Provenance: Robert M. Lee Collection.
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