Offered here is a spectacular first year production deluxe Winchester Model 1901 lever action shotgun. The Model 1901 was a redesign of the Model 1887 shotgun offered in 10 gauge only, and production serial numbers began at 64856. From 1901 to 1920 Winchester manufactured 13,500 Model 1901s with deluxe variations being extremely rare. This deluxe example was manufactured in 1901, the first year of production, and is in exceptional condition, making it a true crown jewel in Winchester collecting. Any high condition Model 1901 is difficult to find, let alone a deluxe, as Winchester had trouble with the heat treated receivers taking the blue finish. Moreover, this Model 1901 has an interesting factory record. The accompanying factory letter lists this rare Model 1901 shotgun with a 32 inch barrel in 10 gauge and checkered pistol grip stock when it was received in the warehouse on October 18, 1901 and shipped on October 21 (order number 113951). The shotgun returned to the warehouse on November 20, 1901 and shipped the next day with the configuration listed as "10 gauge, 32 inches, fancy, checkered stock" (order number 123701). The factory records list a third and final ship date of September 2, 1902 (order number 153963). Winchester firearms with multiple return and ship dates were often used as factory display pieces. The Pan-American Exposition, for instance, was held in Buffalo, New York, from May 1-November 2, 1901. The first block of dates listed in the factory letter makes it possible that this shotgun was on display for the last month at this New York exhibition. The shotgun features a single bead sights, full choke, 3 inch chamber, and 12 15/16 inches. The top of the barrel has the two-line address/patent dates followed by "MODEL 01. 10 GA". The left side of the frame has the ''WRA CO." logo and the upper tang is marked "-WINCHESTER-." The two piece forearm and round knob pistol grip stock are checkered deluxe walnut. The stock is fitted with a checkered steel buttplate.
Excellent, retaining 97% original blue finish with some wear on the lever and a smooth gray patina on the buttplate. The wood is very fine with a stress line at the upper tang, minor handing marks, most of the original varnish remaining, and overall crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. A true rarity in Winchester collecting, this exceptional deluxe Model 1901 shotgun is a must have for the serious collector.
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