This very interesting Winchester Model 1903 features a highly unusual, possibly one-of-a-kind documented embellishment by Winchester factory Master Engraver Angelo Stokes who was known for his meticulous, highly detailed work that is certainly showcased on this rifle. The accompanying Winchester Gun Museum letter dated May 15, 1967 and addressed to noted firearms dealer and expert Herb Glass, Sr. confirms the .22 Auto caliber, checkered fancy English walnut pistol grip stock, and factory engraved motifs including the royal flush of hearts, Nonanturn Clubhouse and scrollwork on the rear sight by Stokes. The rifle was shipped on December 23, 1903. Although an official production total for factory engraved Winchester 1903s is unknown, Winchester author and expert George Madis pointed out the difficulty of finding a factory engraved Model 1903, explaining, "The rare customer who wanted engraving was usually content to have Winchester engrave the standard scenes offered" ("The Winchester Book", page 552). For the Model 1903 these "standard scenes" were small game. Cottontails were especially popular. While the receiver to this Model 1903 is adorned with common factory floral scroll and border motifs, the scenes are anything but ordinary. As confirmed by the factory letter, the left side of the receiver features a royal flush of hearts in a circular panel and the right side of the receiver features the Nonanturn Clubhouse on the waterfront in a circular panel. Nonanturn is likely a misspelling of Nonantum Club, which was a fishing club organized out of New Haven, Connecticut, circa 1892. The club leased lands next to the lake village of La Bouchette in Quebec, Canada, a perfect setting for the lakefront cabin depicted in the engraving. Additional scrollwork decorates the forend cap, rear sight, trigger guard and buttplate. The checkered forearm and pistol grip stock are deluxe walnut. The stock is fitted with a hard rubber Winchester grip cap. Provenance: The Richard P. Mellon Collection
Excellent, retaining 97% plus bright original blue finish with high edge wear on top of rear frame. The engraving is crisp. The wood is also excellent with some minor dings and scratches and crisp checkering overall. Mechanically excellent. Factory engraved Model 1903s are missing from even the most advanced Winchester collections. This high condition deluxe Model 1903 with its special order, highly personalized embellishment is a true rarity in Winchester collecting.
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