Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 50: Factory Engraved Winchester Deluxe Model 1873 Rifle

Auction Date: September 11, 2020

Documented Like 1 of 1,000 Engraved and Inscribed Winchester Deluxe Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Factory Letter and San Francisco History

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $27,500

Documented Like 1 of 1,000 Engraved and Inscribed Winchester Deluxe Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Factory Letter and San Francisco History

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1873
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 WCF
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Stock: highly figured walnut
Item Views: 1510
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 56
Class: Antique

Manufactured in 1883 as a third model with integral dust cover rail and dust cover with rear serrations. The accompanying factory letter lists this rifle with an octagon barrel in .32 caliber (currently chambered in .44 WCF; caliber listing likely a factory error), set trigger, checkered pistol grip stock, casehardened receiver, and "barrel engraved like 1 of 1000" when received in the warehouse on August 1, 1883 and shipped the next day. Although the inscription on the cartridge elevator is not listed in the letter, it is most likely factory. This inscription reads, "W.S. Stone/San Francisco." The rifle is equipped with a combination Beach front sight, an elevation adjustable buckhorn rear sight, and a folding tang peep sight graduated from 0 to 75 on the left side (comes with a leather cover). The barrel has the factory 1 of 1,000 style scroll and inlaid band motif at the muzzle and breech. The 1 of 1,000 was a special series of Model 1873 offered by Winchester between 1875 and 1879. The popularity of the engraving patterns remained with customers well after the last 1 of 1,000 left the factory as demonstrated with this example. The top barrel flat is stamped with the two-line address/patent dates marking ahead of the rear sight. The lower tang has the serial number. The forearm and pistol grip stock are highly figured, "XXX" deluxe walnut with "H" style checkering. The pistol grip has an ebony insert in the grip area. The buttstock has a trapdoor crescent buttplate. Comes with a four piece cleaning rod. The left side of the lower tang is stamped "XXX 4965 R." The assembly number "4965" is repeated on the stock inlet and buttplate. A contender for W.S. Stone is the manager of the California Stage Company, which was organized in 1854 by James E. Birch and ran western stage coach lines carrying passengers and mail stretching from Boise, Idaho to Mexico. During its early years it was the main stage line carrying passengers during the California Gold Rush and went on to serve the widely successful silver mines in Nevada. According to his obituary, Stone's association with the company made him "one of the most widely known men on the coast." Stone died in 1912 at the age of 82.

Rating Definition:

Very good, retaining 70% faded period refinished blue finish with some very scattered light pitting. Patterns of case colors remain on the hammer and lever. The engraving and inscription are crisp. The wood is also very good with minor dings and scratches and some worn checkering. The set trigger does not function, otherwise action cycles properly. An interesting inscribed Model 1873 with factory documented like 1 of 1,000 barrel scroll engraving that will be a welcomed addition to any Winchester or Old West collection.

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