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LOT 59
Very Fine Special Order Factory Engraved Marlin Deluxe Model 1881 Lever Action Rifle with Factory Letter - Serial no. 12756, 38-55 cal., 28 inch octagon bbl., blue/ casehardened finish, deluxe walnut stock. The Model 1881 was the first lever action rifle design by Marlin, and it proved to be very popular with many customers out west. Per “Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms”, only around 20,000 Model 1881s were manufactured by Marlin in 1881-1892. Very few left the factory in deluxe configuration and even fewer were factory engraved. The added costs for special features were considered too much for the general customer looking for a working gun used out on the frontier.
The receiver is wonderfully engraved with a factory pattern established by famed Master Engraver Conrad Ulrich, who worked at Marlin from 1881-1910 and was performing most of the engraving for Marlin when this rifle shipped. Ulrich designed the engraving patterns that would be the standard for Marlin high end finishes. Both sides of the receiver are decorated with plain borders, floral scrollwork on punch dot background, and a circular vignette of a running buck on the left side and a bear on the right. Flourishes of scrollwork extend to the bolt. The barrel is fitted with a German silver blade front sight and an elevation adjustable rear sight and has a top flat marked with the two-line Marlin legend ahead of the rear sight and “38-55” at the breech. The checkered forearm and pistol grip stock are nicely figured walnut. The buttstock is fitted with a crescent buttplate.

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