Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1013: Gold Plated Winchester "1 of 1000" Deluxe Model 1873 Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Extremely Rare and Equally Fine, 1 of Only 3 Documented, Factory Engraved, John Ulrich Signed Gold Plated Winchester "1 of 1000" Deluxe Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $275,000 - $450,000

Extremely Rare and Equally Fine, 1 of Only 3 Documented, Factory Engraved, John Ulrich Signed Gold Plated Winchester "1 of 1000" Deluxe Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1873
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 WCF
Barrel: 26 inch octagon
Finish: blue/gold-plated
Stock: highly figured walnut che
Item Views: 3203
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 12
Class: Antique

Rock Island Auction Company proudly offers “The Midas Bull 1 of 1000”. This rifle is one of only three "1 of 1000" rifles listed in the Winchester factory ledgers as factory engraved with gold-plated finish. All three factory documented gold-plated rifles are known to collectors, one of which (serial number 29547) has been refinished and the other (serial number 30182) retains only traces of its factory original gold-plated finish. Two other rifles are listed in the ledger with a slightly different configuration of gold and nickel finish: serial number 37911 (which has been refinished) and the other 37981 which is currently unknown to the collecting public. Compounding the rarity of this rifle, serial number 35298, is its status as 1 of only 15 Winchester Model 1873 1 of 1000 rifles which are listed in the factory ledgers as being factory engraved. The result of this analysis and comparison leaves one to believe that this rifle, serial number 35298 is without question the finest of its type and certainly one of the most important Winchesters known for its combination of rarity and condition. To view the ledger see "The Story of 1 of 1000 and 1 of 100 Rifles" by Lewis pg. 24-26. The rifle is accompanied by a factory letter that lists the features of Model 1873 serial number 35298 as: 1 of 1000 rifle with 26-inch octagon barrel, gold-plated finish, fancy stock and forearm, set-trigger, and $5.00 engraving. According to the factory letter, the rifle was received in warehouse on August 16, 1879 and shipped on August 15, 1879 on order 16386 ("dates as per record"). This "Second Model" 1873 rifle has receiver dust cover guide secured by two screws and dust cover with proper thumbprint oval. The left side of the tang is marked “XXX” and with the assembly number “207”, which is also marked on the inside toe of the buttplate and the stock inlet. The gold-plated crescent buttplate has a sliding brass trapdoor, and the butt trap contains a four-piece, jointed steel cleaning rod with brass tip. The stock and forearm are nicely figured, as listed in the factory letter as “fancy” grade, walnut with fine checkered panels and a piano finish. The top barrel flat is engraved "One of One Thousand" in script letters between the rear sight and the receiver. The inscription has scallop and dot borders with a scrollwork flourish at the muzzle end. The serial number is engraved on the lower tang behind the lever-latch surrounded by a scrollwork flourish. The forearm tip, receiver and buttplate are gold-plated, and the hammer, trigger and lever are color casehardened. The barrel has silver bands inlaid at the muzzle and breech. Scrollwork flourishes are engraved on the top and sides of the barrel at the muzzle and on the sides of the barrel at the junction with the receiver. The sides, top and underside of the receiver, the dust cover, sides of the forearm tip and buttplate heel are engraved with tight Germanic scrollwork on a punch-dot background. The left side plate is engraved with a magnificent bull moose in a circular panel, and the right side plate is engraved with a imposing and impressive bull elk surrounded by scrollwork. Both sides of the forward portion of the receiver are engraved with coiled banners surrounded by scrollwork. The engraving was executed by John Ulrich and is signed "J. ULRICH" in tiny letters on the lower tang behind the trigger. This rifle is illustrated and described on page 96 of "Winchester, the Golden Age of American Gunmaking and the Winchester 1 of 1000" by R.L. Wilson, on page 40 of "Winchester: An American Legend" by R.L. Wilson, and on pages 74 and 75 of "The Story of 1 of 1000 and 1 of 100 Rifles" by Lewis. The description from Wilson in the first book states in part: "An exceptional specimen, and extremely rare with the notation of engraving cost. Awarded a silver medal by the National Rifle Association at their 1961 annual meeting." Provenance: The Press Collection, The Robert M. Lee Collection and The Gateway Collection

Rating Definition:

Extremely fine. The barrel and magazine retains 75% plus of the strong original blue finish with some slight wear at the muzzle and edges the balance thinning to an aged brown patina. The engraved "One of One Thousand" inscription and factory legend are crisp. The inlaid bands at the muzzle and breech show a beautifully aged tarnished patina. The loading gate retains most of the handsome fire blue finish. The forearm tip, receiver and buttplate retain 60% of the original delicate gold-plated finish. The receiver side plates and contact points show moderate handling wear; most of the gold-plated finish remains on protected areas. The dust cover has a dark patina with traces of gold-plated finish. The contact points on the forearm cap and buttplate show moderate finish wear. The intricate scrollwork on the receiver, forearm cap and buttplate and the highly detailed game scenes and scrollwork on the side plates are extremely sharp. The case colors on the hammer, trigger and lever have faded toned with age but still show vibrant colors in flashes. The fancy grade stock and forearm show light-moderate handling wear but remain in very fine overall condition with sharp checkering. Most of the original piano finish is present on the stock and forearm. The 1 of 1000 Winchester Model 1873 rifles are one of the ultimate prizes in Winchester collecting. This exceptional and fully documented, gold-plated, factory engraved, John Ulrich signed 1 of 1000 rifle is certainly one of the rarest and most desirable Winchester rifles offering one collector or savvy investment buyer the opportunity and pride to truly own the best.

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