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       LOT 1616
Documented Engraved and Gold Inlaid Marlin 20 Gauge Model 90 Over/Under
Shotgun Presented and Inscribed to American Western Actor Tom Mix Pictured
in “Marlin Firearms” - Serial no. 1390, 20 gauge, 26 inch solid rib bbl., blue/gold finish, walnut stock. This shotgun was manufactured in 1937 for presentation to world famous American actor Tom Mix. Thomas Mix appeared in his first film in 1909 and soon rose to be the first of America’s great Western film stars and “King of Cowboys.” He appeared in 270+ films throughout his career spanning from the silent era into the early “talkies” and also directed and wrote. He was a real life cowboy. He was the son of a stable master and before his film career worked on a farm, served in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War, was an
award winning rodeo competitor, worked as a bronco buster at the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch,
performed in Wild West Shows, served as a night marshal, and even rode in President Theodore
Roosevelt’s inaugural parade in 1905 along with Seth Bullock of Deadwood fame, and some of
the Rough Riders. Mix was also a close personal friend of another of the America West’s most
famous lawmen: Wyatt Earp. He served as one of Earp’s pallbearer’s in 1929. Even as his film career
took off, he continued to compete in rodeos and perform in Wild West Shows and circuses and
was often injured during his on and off set performances. He retired from film work in 1935 and
was killed in a tragic car accident near Tucson, Arizona, in 1940. This gun was one of the few guns
given as presentation pieces by Marlin, the most notable other being the Ulrich engraved and
gold plated Model 1897 rifle presented to world famous trick shooter Annie Oakley, which Rock
Island Auction sold in December of 2019 for a whopping $575,000. The shotgun was presented
to him for his work with the company on their gun handling and safety program for American
youngsters as well as for his promotion of the Marlin Model 100-S “Tom Mix Special” rifle.
The engraving was carried out by engravers Charles Preiss and Dan Cavanaugh, employees of Lehman Brothers Company located in New Haven, CT , according to William Brophy on page 610 of his book “Marlin Firearms: A History of the Guns and the Company that Made Them.” The gun is also pictured and discussed in the book in several locations, including pages 416, 540, and 610. Brophy believed that this is one of the premier pieces in Marlin collecting; to that end, it is the most pictured gun in his book, even more so than the Annie Oakley 1897. The shotgun’s gold inlaid inscription is also illustrated on page 208 of “The Gun Digest Book of Single Action Revolvers” by Jack Lewis from 1982 which features a whole section on Mix as well as numerous other references to him. The book states that it was “presented by Marlin at the height of his career.” It is also believed to be just one of only two Marlin presentation guns in private hands.
The shotgun itself has blued steel barrels with single brass bead sight on a matted portion of the upper barrel, 2 3/4 inch chambers with a single extractor, and choke constrictions of .003/.006 inches. The blued action is engraved with floral scrollwork surrounding cowboys breaking broncos on the left-hand side and “Tom Mix” inlaid in fancy gold script on the right on a matted background with a cowboy hat, belt rig, and a single action revolver. The gun features a pair of triggers and an automatic tang mounted safety switch. Attractively, figured fleur-de-lis checkered walnut forend with engraved fittings and a pistol grip stock with a Red Head recoil pad. CONDITION: Excellent overall, retaining 98% plus original blue and gold finishes with limited handling evidence, a few tiny scratches on the wood, and sharp checkering on the stock and forend. Mechanically excellent. Do not miss this chance to own this one-of-a-kind piece presented to the first great Western actor: Tom Mix. Opportunities like this do not happen often!
Estimate: 15,000 - 30,000

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