Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1399: Engraved Winchester Pigeon Grade Model 21 Shotgun

Auction Date: September 12, 2020

Documented Exceptionally Rare Nick Kusmit Master Engraved Winchester Pigeon Grade Factory Four Barrel Set Model 21 Side by Side 20 Gauge Shotgun with Case and Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $40,000 - $70,000

Documented Exceptionally Rare Nick Kusmit Master Engraved Winchester Pigeon Grade Factory Four Barrel Set Model 21 Side by Side 20 Gauge Shotgun with Case and Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 21
Type: Shotgun
Gauge: 20
Barrel: 30 inch vent rib
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1552
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 320
Class: Modern Long Gun

The included factory letter from U.S. Repeating Arms Model 21 Custom Shop Manager B.W. Pardee, confirms the shotgun as a factory four barrel set with two sets of 26 inch barrels, one set of 28 inch barrels, and finally a set of 30 inch barrels. He goes on to note that all barrel sets have vent ribs, and 3 inch chambers. The letter goes on to confirm the engraving, rib marking, gold inlays, grade, and that the engraving was performed by Winchester Master Engraver Nick Kusmit. A further point of interest is the statement that not only is this the last 20 gauge Model 21 produced by the old Olin-Winchester, it is also the last Pigeon Grade produced by the old Olin-Winchester corporation, and that it is one of only two known Pigeon Grades manufactured with four or more sets of barrels. The second having been made for John Olin, which is a seven barrel set. The first 26 inch barrel set features "WS-1/WS-2" marked chokes, the second has "IMP CYL/MOD" marked chokes, the 28 inch set has "MOD/FULL" marked chokes, and the 30 inch set has "FULL/FULL" marked chokes. All barrel sets have matching markings and serial numbers, individual "1-4" markings, "CUSTOM BUILT BY WINCHESTER" rib markings, matching forearms with engraved fittings, engine turned flats and breech, and matching dual white bead sights. The action features full coverage, sweeping, feathery scroll engraving surrounding hunting dog scenes on the sides of a pointer and setter on the right and left respectively, gold inlaid Winchester 20 gauge shotgun shell case head on top of the break lever, and the famous Winchester horse and rider in semi-relief gold inlay on the trigger plate. The shell casing head inlay is specifically noted in the factory letter as being first time this embellishment was applied to a Model 21. The trigger guard face is engraved with the bust of a hunting dog, and the trigger guard tang is inscribed "PIGEON GRADE". The action is fitted with a gold washed single trigger with selector, and manual sliding tang safety. Highly figured, checkered walnut, beavertail forearm with ebony tip insert, fancy scroll borders, blank initial oval, and checkered bare butt. Includes a leather bound takedown case with oak interior trim, gold plated snap caps, gold plated oiler, and Winchester interior label. Stock measurements are: drop at comb 1 3/8 inches; drop at heel 1 7/8 inches; length of pull 14 inches.

Rating Definition:

Excellent with 99% original blue finish, scattered light handling marks, and sharp markings and engraving. The action engraving is detailed and well defined with complete gold inlays. The wood is also excellent with sharp checkering, and some small scattered dings. Mechanically excellent. The extra barrel sets are for the most part excellent with 98% of the original blue finish and light handling marks. The two 26 inch sets do show some areas of minor oxidation around the forearm lugs and on the underside of the ribs. Case is very good with small scuffs and storage marks on the exterior, some mild damage to the interior lining, and some adjustment needed to the latch as it does not close. An incredibly rare documented Model 21 set in excellent original condition!

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