Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 35: Special Order Winchester Deluxe First Model 1873 Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2020

Very Rare, Documented, Special Order Winchester Deluxe First Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle Three Digit Serial Number 530 with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $30,000 - $50,000

Very Rare, Documented, Special Order Winchester Deluxe First Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle Three Digit Serial Number 530 with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1873
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 WCF
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: highly figured walnut che
Item Views: 2088
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 28
Class: Antique

Deluxe, special order, Winchester Model 1873 rifle manufactured in 1874. The rifle is accompanied by a Cody Firearms Museum letter that describes "Model 1873, serial number 530", as: "Type: Rifle, Barrel Type: Octagon, Barrel Length: 24 inches, Trigger: Set, Checkered stock, Sights: Peep and Beach sights, Casehardened, Sling-Swivels" and "Target: 2-1/2". (This "Target" notation in the letter is the predecessor idea that led to the eventual marketing of the famed "One of One Thousand" rifles!) The letter states that this rifle was shipped from the Winchester warehouse on March 10, 1874. This rifle has the very desirable First Model receiver with grooved dust cover guides and a dust cover with highly desirable raised, checkered, 'thumbprint'. The full-octagon barrel has a correct dovetail mounted steel sporting style front sight and sporting style buckhorn rear sight with knurled edges installed with the front of the sight facing the receiver. The upper tang is factory drilled and tapped and has over-size screws in the tang sight mounting holes. The receiver has a factory single set trigger. Factory eyelets for removable sling swivels are mounted on the forearm cap and stock. The crescent steel buttplate has a sliding brass trapdoor. The stock and forearm are highly figured, fancy grade walnut with a semi-gloss finish and the first style Winchester checkering with a scalloped border on the wrist at the receiver wrist junction. The stock has the very rare "perch belly"/extra drop configuration. The barrel and magazine are blued. The loading gate has a fire blue finish. The forearm cap, frame, dust cover, hammer, trigger, lever and crescent buttplate are color casehardened. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped: "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29. 1866. OCTOBER 16. 1860" in two lines ahead of the rear sight. The upper receiver tang is roll-stamped: "MODEL. 1873." in fancy letters. The serial number, "530" is stamped in script numerals on the lower tang between the lever latch and the rear tang screw. There are, correctly, no caliber markings on the barrel and cartridge elevator. Winchester First Model 1873 rifles are rare in any configuration: first year production rifles with deluxe, special order, features and finishes are almost non-existent. Writer does not recall ever seeing an earlier example of a Deluxe 1873!

Rating Definition:

Fine. This rifle shows moderate wear and retains 30% of the original blue and traces of original color casehardened finish. The barrel and magazine have light edge wear with significant amounts of blue in protected areas; the balance is a smooth, plum patina. The barrel legend is clearly legible. The case colors on the forearm cap have a dark, mottled patina. The case colors on the receiver, dust cover and lever have faded to a smooth, silver-gray patina with scattered, minor spots of age discoloration. Small amounts of the original case colors are visible in protected areas of the receiver. Most of the case colors are present on the hammer and trigger. The buttplate has a dark patina with significant amounts of dark surface rust on the bottom. The loading gate has about half of the original nitre blue finish intact. The tang sight mounting screws are present (without base). The highly figured, fancy grade, walnut stock and forearm remain in very good overall condition with scattered, minor, handling marks. The checkered panels show moderate handling wear. This is a very good example of an extremely rare, first year production, First Model 1873 Rifle with numerous special order features.

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