This beautiful Model 20 is pictured on the cover of the 28th Edition of "The Blue Book of Firearms Values" from 2007 and "The Marlin Collector" Volume 30, Issue 4 from October 2010 and Volume 36, Issue 2, from March 2016. Copies of the latter and the "Blue Book" (cover only) are included. It is identified as having been owned by Mahlon Henry Marlin (1864-1949), one of the sons of founder of Marlin Firearm Co. John Mahlon Marlin. An included copy of a letter by Edward Carporale indicates this rifle was passed from Mahlon Marlin to Dominic Griego (father-in-law of the letter's writer) via Marlin's daughter Janet who died in 1965. Griego passed in 1996 after giving this rifle and another to Caporale. Mahlon Marlin worked in sales, served as company vice-president, and then helped guide the company after his father's death as president and treasurer. He was also a talented painter and the inventor of an early bicycle or velocipede. The rifle also appears on an Oct. 1911 dated copy of a "Marlin/Special Bargain Sheet, NO. 8" as job no. 15 based on the description: "1 Model 20, 22 caliber, 23-inch, octagon, extra selected stock and forearm, 'F' checked, extra finish, engraved and inlaid," and listed for $55.50 retail price and special bargain price of $42.00. It also appears in a copy of a July 13, 1911, dated advertisement for the Marlin Model 20 and 29. It was awarded a silver medal for "One of Ten Best Arms" at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in 2000 and included the medal, medal case, and plaque. The Marlin Model 20 was introduced in 1906 and replaced by the Model 20S and Model 20A following the First World War. Very few of these were engraved. A very similar example is pictured on page 444 of "Marlin Firearms" by Brophy on which he calls it "one of the two finest pump action .22 rifles produced by Marlin. Gold and platinum inlays, pristine engraving with No. F-checked deluxe wood are exceptionally rare." Note that the pictured rifle actually has less engraving since our current example has engraving on the side of the bolt as well. It may be the very rifle pictured on the preceding page of Brophy's book but the photograph isn't clear enough to confirm the wood is as high quality as what is found on this deluxe rifle. It was engraved by either Conrad Friedrich Ulrich Jr. who left Marlin in 1910 to work for Winchester or his son Alden George Ulrich who remained with Marlin from 1905 to c. 1920 and then moved to Winchester like his father. The embellishments consist of scrollwork and bands of each gold and platinum on the breech end of the barrel, gold borders around finely detailed games scenes of a pair of rabbits on the right and pair of squirrels on the left, a palmette/shell motif on top of the receiver ring found on many Ulrich engraved rifles, fine scrollwork backed by punch dot texture on the balance of the receiver, additional flourishes of scrollwork on the buttplate, and F pattern checkering on the fancy grade forearm and stock. The serial number is on the left side of the upper tang and is repeated in the upper tang mortise of the stock along with "JJ." The barrel has a beaded blade front sight, standard two-line address, and a notch rear sight. The upper tang also has the standard "Marlin/No 20" marking. Provenance: The Tom Selleck Collection
Excellent overall with 95% plus original blue finish, all of the original inlays, finely detailed engraving patterns that remain crisp, minor cycling and handling wear, a few nicks and scratches, crisp checkering, some minor flakes and crazing in the varnish, and attractive feathered figure on the buttstock. Mechanically excellent. This is a truly exceptional rifle engraved by one of the premiere families in American firearms engraving history and connected directly to the leadership of one of the most prominent names in lever action firearms. It is sure to be a centerpiece in any advanced collection.
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