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Lot 1018: Exceptional Special Order Deluxe Winchester Model 1873 Lever Action Rifle with Cody Letter
by Rock Island Auction Company
December 1, 2012
Rock Island, IL, USALive Auction
Estimate: $30000 - 40000
This is an excellent example of a very early original Deluxe Special Order Model 1873 rifle. It is accompanied by a Cody Museum record fact sheet supporting the configuration of this rifle, showing shipment in September 1879 under special order #16504. This is a Second Model with the desirable "Thumb Print" dust cover and rail secured by two screws. The rifle is equipped with the following special order features; 1) half-round, half-octagon barrel, 2) half length magazine, 3) semi fancy checkered wood, 4) pistol grip stock, 5) sling swivels and 6) a single set trigger. The top barrel flat is marked "WINCHESTER'S REPEATING ARMS NEW HAVEN CONN. U.S.A./-KING'S IMPROVEMENT PATENTED MARCH 29, 1866 OCTOBER 16, 1860-" ahead of the rear sight and there are no caliber markings on the barrel which is correct for these early production rifles. There was no need to mark the caliber on these early models due to the 32 and 38 caliber rounds not having been developed yet. The upper tang has the second pattern markings of only "MODEL 1873" in script and it is correctly drilled for a tang sight, and the serial number is marked on the lower tang directly behind the lever latch. The left side lower tang under the wood is stamped with the assembly number "183" and the same number also appears inside the top tang channel of the buttstock and inside the toe of the buttplate. The stock has a nice dark walnut look in the pistol grip area with a little more grain showing on the right side, and closely matching forend with casehardened end cap and original Ebony insert in the pistol grip. The sling swivels are fitted on the underside of the buttstock and the forend cap. It has the standard Winchester blue steel parts with the casehardened receiver, loading lever, hammer, forend cap and buttplate.
BBL: 24 3/8 inch round
Stock: walnut checkered pistol grip
Gauge: 44-40 Win
Serial Number: 36006
Condition: Excellent overall. The barrel retains 90% of the original bright blue finish with wear on the edge and high spots, with streaks thinning with a nice smooth brown patina, and some scattered minor spotting. The loading gate and trigger retain almost all of the original bright niter blue finish. The receiver retains 70% of the original bright case colors with the balance fading and turning a silver gray patina. The loading lever retains 80% original case colors with some thinning on the bottom of the lever loop and smooth gray on the contact areas. The hammer shows 90% bright colors showing some thinning and friction rubs on the right side, the buttplate has 75% of the dark case colors with the balance turning a smooth gray patina and the forend cap retains 95% of the original vivid case colors. With the exception of some minor pressure marring on the forearm behind the forend cap, the wood is also excellent with a large 1 inch scratch on the right side butt just forward of the buttplate with some minor handling marks overall. Mechanically the rifle is crisp with an excellent bore. An exceptional original early Special Order Deluxe Winchester Model 1873 lever action rifle.