Lot 2014: 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 w...
6th May 2017
For the first time in over 25 years Rock Island Auction Company proudly unveils “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 (also being offered this spring 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 only15 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 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 "35298" 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 platinum or 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: page 74 and 75 The Story of 1 of 1000 and 1 of 100 Rifles By Lewis. The description 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."
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