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     LOT 3114
Only Known Factory Gold and Platinum American Flag Inlaid Marlin Model 1894 Lever Action Saddle Ring Carbine - Serial no. 292666, 44-40 WCF cal., 20 inch round bbl., blue finish, walnut stock. This one-of-a-kind factory gold and platinum American flag inlaid Marlin Model 1894 saddle ring carbine was manufactured
in 1904 and collectors have speculated that the carbine was commissioned as a display piece to celebrate the centennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Factory records lack a sales entry for this carbine; however, we know of six separate Marlin retailer bargain sheets from 1907 to 1915 that list this carbine for sale with no other information provided. These retailer sheets describe the carbine as, “’94 Carbine, 44-40, 20-inch; selected stock and forearm. American flag engraved and inlaid on receiver.” The catalog price for the carbine was listed for $52.50 (around $1,600 in today’s money). Original retailer sheets from 1907, 1910, and 1914 are included. The other three included sheets (1911, 1912, and 1915) are copies. Additional information regarding bargain sheets is found in Brophy’s “Marlin Firearms” on pages 488-492.
The barrel is fitted with a square base front sight and carbine ladder rear sight graduated to 900 yards. The top of the barrel is stamped with the two-line Marlin address/patent dates marking ahead of the rear sight and “44-40” at the breech. The upper tang is factory drilled and tapped for sight mounting and is marked “MARLIN/ MODEL ’94.” The underside of the receiver has the serial number. The inlaid American flag is on the left side of the receiver which also has a saddle ring. The 1777 pattern American flag is inlaid in gold and platinum and measures about 3/4 inches wide and 1/2 inch long on a 1 1⁄4 inch standard with eagle finial and a pair of tasseled ropes. The flag features thirteen stars in platinum on a blue background, seven gold stripes and six platinum stripes. Mounted with select walnut carbine forearm and buttstock. The buttstock is fitted with a carbine buttplate.
The carbine was discovered in 2003 in a private collection in Maryland and was displayed at the 2004 Denver Marlin Firearms Collector’s Association annual national show where it won Best in Show. As stated, the carbine was manufactured in 1904 and knowledgeable collectors have speculated that the carbine was commissioned
to celebrate the centennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. No other American expedition is more famous than the one partaken by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their Corps of Discovery. Widely known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson for the purpose
of exploring and mapping newly acquired territory obtained through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Captain Lewis and Second Lieutenant Clark commanded a thirty member group composed of U.S. Army and civilian volunteers. The group departed
in May 1804 and reached the Pacific Ocean in November 1805. The expedition contributed greatly to geographic and scientific knowledge and U.S. claims of the West. America’s celebration of Lewis and Clark centennial started at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri, from April 30-December 1, 1904, and carried on to the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition held in Portland, Oregon, from June 1, 1905 to October 14, 1905. The late 19th century to the early 20th century was an era dominated by various World’s Fairs, other international exhibitions, and American exhibitions. Winchester, Colt, and Smith & Wesson all created elaborate exhibition displays with truly remarkable works of firearms art. Marlin was no exception. As Marlin expert William Brophy pointed out, the “Marlin company won
Fairs. Unfortunately, complete details have not
survived the many corporate changes that the various
Marlin organizations 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.” Although Marlin is not mentioned as an exhibitor, Brophy does
confirm firearm companies were
present at the Lewis and Clark
Centennial Exposition. He wrote,
“Marlin acquired the L.C. Smith
shotgun and the Hunter Arms
Company in a court foreclosure
in 1945. The L.C. Smith shotgun
won the gold medal at the 1905
Lewis and Clark Centennial
Exposition in Portland, Ore”
(“Marlin Firearms,” pages 487-
488). With its gold and platinum
inlaid American flag and select walnut stock, this Marlin Model
1894 carbine has all the appearance of being a decorative arm fitting for
display piece at an exhibition celebrating a defining American achievement.
While there is no documentation linking the carbine to any early 20th century exhibition, it is nevertheless an extreme rarity in Marlin collecting worthy of the
finest collection.
CONDITION: Exceptionally fine. The barrel and magazine tube retain 95% plus original blue finish with some muzzle wear. The barrel bands retain 60% original blue finish with smooth gray patina on the balance. The receiver retains
85% plus original blue finish with thinning to brown on the
balance and typical saddle ring halo. The buttplate is a mixture
of smooth brown and gray patinas with traces of original
blue finish remaining 60% original case colors remain on
the lever, and 95% original case colors remain on the
hammer. The wood is fine with numerous scattered
minor dings and scratches and much of the original
varnish remaining. Mechanically excellent.
A true rarity in lever action collecting,
this only known factory gold and
platinum inlaid American flag Marlin
Model 1894 saddle ring carbine is a
must have for the serious Marlin or
decorative firearms collector.
Provenance: 2004 Denver Marlin
Firearms Collector’s Association
Annual National Show Best in Show
Winner; Property of a Gentleman.
Estimate: 15,000 - 25,000
 72 numerous awards for excellence at international and national exhibitions and World’s

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