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Model 1892 Acid Etched Receiver
January 11, 2019
2:02 pm
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Good morning all,

Here is a quite nice deluxe takedown Model 1892 with an acid etched receiver.  George Madis was under the impression that this is original and he mentions a few other rifles and a shotgun which he had seen that were similarly done.  The letter does have the wrong SN on it.  Any thoughts?  Has anyone seen other examples of this sort of work that is attributable to Winchester?  Didn't George Madis usually date his letters?

Michael

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Model 1892 / Model 61 Collector, Research, Valuation

January 11, 2019
5:02 pm
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i am definitely not an expert.  But in my mind i don't think Winchester would do this.  Wouldn't removing that much metal from the frame possibly make the frame weaker?  I don't think Winchester would want that kind of liability.  Just my .02......

January 11, 2019
5:29 pm
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I shy away from guns that have to have a letter to explain non factory modifications.  I don't care who wrote the letter...

January 11, 2019
6:03 pm
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George Madis in his day was the expert.  He also got a lot wrong.  Using what we know now, I am 99% certain this acid etched engraving did not originate at the Winchester factory.

January 11, 2019
9:49 pm
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In my opinion, typically if the serial number on George's letter doesn't match the gun, then George wasn't writing about that gun, per say. Granted I could see how a 9 could have been written down as a 4. But the serial is mentioned in four places on the letter, so this seems odd.

Yes his letters are normally dated. Only thing that could explain why this one isn't, it may have had an additional cover letter before it.

If would be nice to seen an example of the other etchings done on the models 90, 92, 94, & Model 12 shotgun to compare with it. 

I will add that George was engraver himself, and who better to look at it. Brings to mind the phrase, it takes one to know one!

Sincerely,

Maverick

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January 12, 2019
1:46 am
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Factory or not , and I couldn't give an opinion pro or con,that is a beautiful '92 Nichael

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January 12, 2019
9:23 pm
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Maverick:

In my experience, George almost never dated his letters unless so requested.  I've viewed lots of them and had George write them for me also.......

January 12, 2019
11:02 pm
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I have his last book "The Winchester Book 1 of 1000".  He sent this to me after we spent a couple of days at Jim Gordon's ranch in Grant, Colorado.  With the book, he also sent a cover letter.  Neither the book nor the letter are dated.  For anyone who knew him, he was the first to say "this is just my opinion" or "it's impossible to be right about everything".  A lot of new information has surfaced since he passed away, so I say, use what you can of the knowledge he left behind, but the final "guess" is up to us as collectors.  No matter what you say about George, he was the one who instilled in us, the wonders and history of the WINCHESTER.

PS,  I didn't mention that this is a beautiful rifle, real or not.

January 12, 2019
11:50 pm
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Maverick said
In my opinion, typically if the serial number on George's letter doesn't match the gun, then George wasn't writing about that gun, per say. Granted I could see how a 9 could have been written down as a 4. But the serial is mentioned in four places on the letter, so this seems odd.

Yes his letters are normally dated. Only thing that could explain why this one isn't, it may have had an additional cover letter before it.

If would be nice to seen an example of the other etchings done on the models 90, 92, 94, & Model 12 shotgun to compare with it. 

I will add that George was engraver himself, and who better to look at it. Brings to mind the phrase, it takes one to know one!

Sincerely,

Maverick  

Maverick, did I miss something?  What is the serial number of this gun?  Also, I have most all of George's books and really appreciate what he has done for our sport.  Unfortunately I have seen these types of letters used to sell guns with problems.   Or the writer had some interest in the gun.  I am not accusing George. 

January 13, 2019
3:30 am
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Serial number in another GI pic of this rifle is 848793, all I can figure is that Mr. Madis wrote it down wrong in his notes as he was examining the gun as it appears he’s describing this rifle. We’ll probably never know for sure. This is the first I’ve heard or seen this type of embellishment, I think it’s quite attractive. 

Could this be one of those “never say never” situations?

 

Mike

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January 13, 2019
9:01 pm
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Rick Hill said
Maverick:

In my experience, George almost never dated his letters unless so requested.  I've viewed lots of them and had George write them for me also.......  

Rick,

On second thought for me state that they are "normally dated" is somewhat incorrect. I have seen a fair number of his letters dated, along with a fair number of cover letters, and envelopes as well. But after reflecting on it and looking at my records. Majority of the letters I've come across don't have the date on them. I would also rely on your judgement on this specific topic. As I know you had closer dealings with George, and you've probably seen more of his letters than I have. 

 

I still find it odd the serial is different on the gun than the letter, but can see how a 9 could be transposed as a 4. Or see how George could make a simple writing error.

To me this gun is very interesting and to dismiss it out right. I think is somewhat of a mistake. I'd still like to see some more facts come to light. Especially like to see the "plates" of the model 12 that are at Cody. Or even if someone knows the current whereabouts of the Model 12 in California.

Being able to compare it to this rifle, maybe enlightening.

Some forget or don't know George was in several legal cases a "Expert Witness" and had to testify in court as to why and how a particular gun had been faked. 

Now I don't know if George ever had an "skin in the game" in regards to a particular gun. But I do believe is most assuredly was no R.L. Wilson.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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January 14, 2019
12:31 am
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Maverick, 

You are 100% correct in regards to George NOT being an R. L. Wilson.  I doubt that George had anything to gain by falsifying info he gave on certain guns, but we weren't by his side when these opportunities arose, so we simply don't know.  My opinion is, George knew his assessment of certain guns was only his opinion and the owners of said firearms, knew right up front that this was just his best educated guess.  Only the owners of the guns he evaluated know if he was being honest or just "doing them a favor".  And, those guys would and will never say anything to the contrary.  He was, with any and all faults, a gentleman to be around.

January 14, 2019
4:33 am
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I checked and I have 3 of his letters and they all have no dates.

Bob

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January 14, 2019
2:02 pm
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Can someone please educate a new and/or younger collector as to the reputation or the incidents related of R. L. Wilson you all are referring?? All I know is he was an author of various books on Winchesters......

January 14, 2019
3:33 pm
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Hi foxfire-

Larry Wilson spent some time in Federal prison for defrauding a client after pleading guilty to wire fraud.  The newspaper article below contains many of the rather sordid details:

https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-xpm-2006-03-26-0603260031-story.html

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January 14, 2019
5:20 pm
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Wow!!! Shocking stuff. Thanks for the education. 

January 14, 2019
5:53 pm
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foxfire said
Wow!!! Shocking stuff. Thanks for the education.   

Exactly!  And yet folks continue to praise him and buy his books!

Why?

R L Wilson's books are nothing more than coffee table books.  Very little scientific information, lots of pretty pictures, and, given his proclivities, any technical information is questionable.  If you had deep enough pockets, your gun could be in a publication and what you want it to say about it was almost a guarantee!  I've heard this from several sources.

To be honest with you, if I, or many of you, had rich friends with fancy guns, and a really good camera, we could easily have written books like those Wilson wrote.

January 14, 2019
5:57 pm
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Sad thing is, I believe he truly was an expert on the old Colts but he cashed in on his expertise to defraud others. 

 

Mike

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
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January 14, 2019
6:00 pm
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This is just the tip of the iceberg.  This stuff goes on all the time.  Buyer beware.

January 14, 2019
6:30 pm
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Yeah, that's why I've been tap-dancing around identifying any honest internet dealers - since generally I cant attend gun shows. I don't mind paying a premium (slight :)) if the seller and provenance checks-out. I did a search here on Collectors Firearms - they seem legit. Anyone care to opine??

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