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 The accompanying factory letter indicates that there are two entries for this rifle
in the factory ledger. The first entry lists a rifle with 24 inch half octagon barrel
in .22 caliber when shipped on October 1, 1898. The second entry lists a rifle with
half octagon barrel in .22 caliber and pistol grip stock when shipped September 25,
1897. A second ship date of October 19, 1913, is also provided. A series of shipping
entries is indicative of factory exhibition pieces that were displayed at various World’s Fairs,
other international exhibitions, American exhibitions, and sometimes at important dealers. Marlin
factory letters are notorious for being incomplete. Again we turned to Brophy for insight: “Marlin company won numerous awards for excellence at international and
national exhibitions and World’s
Fairs. Unfortunately, complete
details have not survived the
many corporate changes that the
various Marlin organization went
through. The first major award
known is the Highest Award of
Merit, which Marlin received
at the Centennial International
Exhibition, held in Melbourne,
Australia, in 1888” (“Marlin
Firearms,” page 487). The ship
dates for this rifle are ambiguous;
however, there are possibilities.
The Brussels International
Exposition was a world’s fair held
in Brussels, Belgium, from May
10-November 8, 1897. Displays
from twenty-seven countries were seen by nearly 8 million
people. The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition was held in Omaha, Nebraska, from June 1-November 1898.
CONDITION: Very good, exuding an appearance of a high art firearm that spent a lifetime of use during the
period, proving that not all art hangs on a wall. The barrel and magazine tube retain 60% original blue finish
with smooth brown patina mixed with spotting on the balance. The receiver, hammer, lever, and forend cap have faded to a gray with slight patterns of original case colors around the trigger. The engraving is crisp. The very good wood shows similar working gun character with a chip at the toe and well-worn checkering from spending a lifetime in the hand. The two extra barrels are very good. Each extra barrel retains 90% original blue finish mixed with spotting. Mechanically excellent. This rifle has all the honest hallmarks of a working gun from the period and proves that all art does not reside behind glass. This is a rarely seen factory No. 10 engraved, inlaid, and stocked Marlin Model 1897 three barrel rifle set that has a story or two to tell.
Estimate: 15,000 - 25,000

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