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   LOT 3019
Rare and Desirable
Documented One
of One Thousand
Winchester Model
1876 Lever Action Rifle with Exceedingly Rare Round Barrel, Factory Letter, and Letters of Provenance - Serial no. 1213, 45-75 cal., 28 inch round bbl., blue/casehardened finish, deluxe walnut stock. No other Winchester name carries with it more public appeal or notoriety than
“1 of 1000,” and these rifles, made in both the 1873 and 1876 models,
are certainly among the absolutely most highly sought after rifles for Winchester collectors. Most collectors are “still in the hunt” for these rare rifles as there are far to few to go around. The Model 1876 “One of One Thousand” are significantly rarer than their Model 1873 counterparts. There were only fifty-five One of One Thousand Winchester Model 1876 rifles manufactured, and this rifle is the one of only three examples listed in the information derived from the warehouse ledgers as a One of One Thousand with a round barrel making it among the rarest Winchester Model 1876s of all time and certainly a very highly desirable One of One Thousand variation.
The One of One Thousand program was announced by Winchester in
1873 and then more fully explained in Winchester’s 1875 catalog under the headline “Variety of Arms” which stated: “Every Sporting Rifle we make will be proved and shot at a target, and the target will be numbered to correspond with the barrel and be attached to it. When one hundred barrels are thus proved, the one making the best target will be selected and set aside, and another hundred proved in the same way, and so on until one thousand have been tested and ten targets selected with the barrels with which they were made. They will then be made up into Guns, in which each part is selected with the utmost care and finished in the finest manner. They will then be again subjected to trials for accuracy, and the best of the ten selected and marked ‘One of a thousand,’ the price of which will be $80.00 to $100.00. The other nine will be marked ‘one of a hundred,’ and the price will be from $60.00 to $75.00 each. Sportsmen
will readily see that this severe process of gleaning will be a slow and expensive one, and the result be but a limited number of choice Guns,
and that orders should be given in advance of their wants, or patience exercised with the necessary delay of filling them.” While the 1 of 1,000 and
16 1 of 100 rifles are thought of as incredibly valuable collectibles today, it is
clear the program was originally specifically meant for serious sportsmen that were looking for deadly accurate rifles. Frontiersmen like Granville and Thomas Stuart sought out these rifles for use in hunting, target shooting, and defending their homesteads. Others were owned by wealthy hunters who appreciated these rifles increased accuracy over your standard Model 1873 or 1876. The Model 1876 1 of 1,000s were produced in smaller numbers, but their buyers were even more likely to be serious hunters
as the “Centennial Model” in .45-75 W.C.F. was designed to offer serious stopping power in a repeating rifle.
This incredible rifle is absolutely the real deal and is backed by an included factory letter listing this rifle by serial number as a 1 of 1000 rifle with a round barrel, set trigger, checkered stock, long range sights, and casehardened finish and confirms it was received in the warehouse on December 28, 1877, and shipped on December 29, 1877, in order 10824. The rifle features the extraordinarily rare round barrel an inlaid silver band at the muzzle followed by scroll engraving around the dovetailed base
of the combination bead and globe front sight, the two-line address and King’s improvement patent marking ahead of the adjustable sporting rear sight, “One of One Thousand” inscribed on top of the barrel flanked by scroll and shell pattern engraving, and another silver band at the breech. The “open top” first model frame is casehardened and has a tang peep sight and single set trigger. The serial number is in script numerals on the lower tang. The left side of the tang is marked “85 XX.” The rifle is mounted with a checkered forearm and straight wrist stock with the matching assembly number “85,” casehardened forend cap. and crescent buttplate.
There has been some confusion concerning this rifle since 1950 due to it being reported as a Model 1873 during the famous search for One of One Thousand Winchester Model 1873s associated with the movie “Winchester ‘73.”The included letter from James C. Hartley, Director of Research at Winchester Repeating Arms Co., on June 15, 1950, incorrectly lists this rifle by serial number as an authenticated One of One Thousand Model 1873 that was shipped on June 30, 1874. In the October 1950 issue of “American Rifleman” in the article “The End of a Search” by Depperman about One
of One Thousand Model 1873s, it is listed as owned by Dr. James T. Fowler of Osawatomie, Kansas, and as given to him in 1945. In a letter from Depperman to Dr. Fowler, he thanks him for notifying him that he had a One of One Thousand and added “I assume it is a Model 73, and I would appreciate it if you would give me the serial numbers.” Additional letters requested other information and indicate he was shipped a Model 94 as a reward from the motion picture search and that Winchester couldn’t find records for his “Model 73.” The 1950s letters along with a picture of only the barrel inscription led to this rifle being mentioned in both “The Story of the Winchester 1 of 1000 and 1 of 100 Rifles” by Lewis and “Winchester’s New Model of 1873: A Tribute” by Gordon as a known Model 1873 with the One of One Thousand markings that is not confirmed by the records. However, as shown in ledger information in Lewis’s book and by the included recent factory letter, the rifle is clearly listed by serial number in the factory records as a confirmed One of One Thousand Model 1876. Somehow the authors had not put together that this rifle’s serial number appeared in the list of One of One Thousand Model 1876s. Lewis had noted that the “1 of 1000 inscription is almost certainly genuine.” It is 100% genuine because its actually an even rarer factory documented Model 1876 rather than a Model 1873, and it is one of only three documented in the factory records with a round barrel to top it!

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