This rifle is pictured and identified by serial number on page 175 of "Winchester Slide Action Rifles Volume I: Model 1890 & Model 1906" by Ned Schwing and listed as featuring "$5" engraving by John A. Gough and listed for $36.50. Schwing indicated the photographs were courtesy of the Cody Firearms Museum and notes on the previous page that these photographs were taken by the factory between 1910 and 1915 for the company to keep as references and review. He also states that Gough's "anatomical interpretation of various animals is possibly superior to Ulrichs'." Gough engraved for Winchester from 1905-1918. Schwing also notes that the engraving is similar to pattern number 9 from the engraving catalog. Based on the tables provided in the book on page 182, it is very clear that factory engraved Model 1890s are incredibly rare, and this rifle especially so. Through serial number 329999 (1907), only thirty-six factory engraved Model 1890s are recorded in the available records. Of those, there was only four No. 9 engraved rifles, only two No. 9 engraved rifles in .22 short, and only a single blue finished #9 engraved rifle recorded. The rifle was manufactured in 1912 per the Winchester Collector's Association, and it features a beaded blade front sight, an elevation adjustable sporting rear sight, "MANUFACTURED BY THE WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN./CONN. U.S.A PAT. JUNE 26. 88. DEC. 6. 92. NOV. 27. 06. MAY 30. 1911." and "-MOD. 1890-" on the upper left barrel flat ahead of the rear sight, "22 SHORT" caliber marking on the upper left barrel flat at the breech, Winchester "WP" proofs on the barrel and receiver at the breech, Third Model receiver with exposed locking lugs, standard upper tang markings and matching serial numbers on the lower tang and receiver. The receiver is engraved with flowing scroll a detailed scene of a squirrel eating a nut on a branch on the right and a scene of a rabbit among some grass on the left (very fitting animals for a .22 short rifle) surrounded by scroll and wavy line patterns with textured shading. The rifle is mounted with a 1X fancy figured 12 groove slide handle and checkered pistol grip stock with a hard rubber Winchester grip cap and a blued steel crescent buttplate. The lower tang is marked "847X," and the end of the buttstock and inside of the buttplate are marked with the matching assembly number "847."
Excellent with 98% bright original high polish blue finish remaining, light cycling marks visible on the receiver rails, and some minor brown spotting on the magazine tube. The wood is also excellent with scattered small dings and crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. Factory engraved Model 1890 rifles are extremely rare, with exceptional documented examples like this being even more desirable. This rifle was considered noteworthy enough to retain a permanent record at the Winchester factory and remains in nearly the same condition as it did when it was photographed over one hundred years ago. Given the popularity of this model with collectors for generations and their rarity, the engraved Model 1890s, particularly those in high condition like this one, can make great investments, and this rifle is sure to add interest to any collection.
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