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Premiums for low serial numbers
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May 3, 2016 - 10:42 am
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With the recent sale of Winchester 1886 No 1 and 1873 No 6, we have an idea what sort of premium the earliest example of each might bring (although mention was made of 1873 No 3 existing). But how much of a premium for single or double digit serial numbers should one place on a Winchester 1873, 1886, 1892, 1894, etc? I would think by the time triple digits are reached, it starts to become a curiosity more than anything else (although I did note that a 3 digit 1886 contained features and lettering consistent with the gun it was designed to replace, the Winchester 1876).

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May 3, 2016 - 12:59 pm
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I don’t have any experience on low number early Winchesters. I have a Winchester Commemorative that is serial #1 and would like to think it is worth a fortune. In reality, it probably only makes it worth a couple of hundred more bucks. I do have a low two digit number Colt Lightning rifle. I bought it on the overall condition, the low number was just an interesting novelty to me.

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May 3, 2016 - 3:20 pm
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It is my belief that most (if not all) Winchester collectors will pay a significant premium for a single-digit serial number, and modest premium for a 2-digit serial numbered gun.

In regards to other Models out there with very low serial numbers, I have seen (and had my hands on) Model 1894 serial number 3 (brown gun), Model 1912 serial number 2 (very pristine condition), and Model 71 serial number 4 (pristine condition). I have photographs of Model 1893 serial number 4, and I have seen and handled at least a few dozen 2-digit serial numbered Winchesters.

Bert

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May 3, 2016 - 4:52 pm
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Well, I have two, 3 digit M75’s, and there was no premium. #282 and # 837. Big Larry

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May 4, 2016 - 9:44 am
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I have thought about the response to the original post as I guess I was only thinking about 19th Century models and never even contemplated firearms such as Winchester 71 No 4. Now that I think about this, with regards to the 1866, 1873, 1876, 1885, 1886, 1892, 1894, 1895, etc., I would pay a premium for a 2 digit serial number and, if 3 digits, I would show preference for that gun but would be inclined to pay little or no premium for the firearm. Of course earlier firearms may gather a premium simply because they are earlier variations that differ from the majority of production, such as the flatside 1895 and the early 1886 which might contain a caliber marking in the font of the 1876 or a rear ladder sight marked 1876. (Or, if you collect Colt Single Action Army revolvers, the early pinch frame variation brings a SUBSTANTIAL premium!!!)  But, with regards to a single digit serial number on a later model, unless serial number 1, I might preferentially try to acquire that gun over another, but would pay little to no premium for it. But that simply is my preference. Also, when one thinks of the era when model 53, 55, 64, 65, and 71’s were produced, why pay a premium for a single digit Model 71, when you could very well have in your hands the VERY FIRST Model 65 ever produced and pay no premium for it, or even realize you have in your hands the very first one ever produced as they were numbered in the Model 1892 serial number series?

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It’s interesting to note that an 1892, SN 99 sold at the Rock Island Auction for $6,000 last weekend.  It was a standard rifle in 44 WCF with an early refinish.  Because it was refinished, I would value the gun in the $1,000 – $1,500 range if it weren’t for the low serial number.   However, at least two people were willing to shell out nearly $7,000 when you add the buyer’s premium.  Hard to say if this one sale was an anomaly or a trend.  I like the early guns and have a two digit and several three digit Winchesters, but would not pay anywhere near that kind of money for one based only on a low serial number. 

https://www.proxibid.com/aspr/Desirable-Serial-Number-99-Winchester-Model-1892-Lever-Action-Rifle-with-Factory-Letter/29349982/LotDetail.asp?lid=29349982

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From a new Winchester collector’s perspective (just purchased my second), I’m more interested in examples that are correct/original and in the best condition possible within a price I have set. Later on, as I start to refine my collection more, lower serial #s will most likely become more important to me.

IMG_0805-Copy-Copy-Copy.JPG

Winchester Model 1873 44-40 circa 1886

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May 7, 2016 - 11:17 pm
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http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o704/Renegade9171/Rifles/Serial%20Number%208/Serial8_zps378ba623.jpgImage Enlarger

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o704/Renegade9171/Rifles/Serial%20Number%208/Receiver_zps2fe4d1c1.jpgImage Enlarger

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o704/Renegade9171/Rifles/Serial%20Number%208/ProofMarks_zpsd00ca634.jpgImage Enlarger

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o704/Renegade9171/Rifles/Serial%20Number%208/BarrelMarkings_zpsdf06edac.jpgImage Enlarger

Model 61 Serial #8

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May 8, 2016 - 2:53 am
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Renegade,

You are one fortunate Winchester collector:  model 61 with serial number 8.

Wonderful and thanks for sharing.

Laugh

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May 9, 2016 - 12:59 am
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Jolly Bill said

Renegade,

You are one fortunate Winchester collector:  model 61 with serial number 8.

Wonderful and thanks for sharing.

Laugh

Thanks JB!! It would be nice to get everyone together some day to see all the cool stuff out there. I know you have some nice stuff too!!

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May 9, 2016 - 1:50 am
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renegade said

Jolly Bill said

Renegade,

You are one fortunate Winchester collector:  model 61 with serial number 8.

Wonderful and thanks for sharing.

Laugh

Thanks JB!! It would be nice to get everyone together some day to see all the cool stuff out there. I know you have some nice stuff too!!

Yes it would.

 

Jolly

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May 9, 2016 - 4:34 am
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Jolly and Renegade,
Step up and join the WACA ! We have many opportunities to get together, east- west -and mid-country. Plus all the info and expertise on this sight. I go to the Annual Reno Show and hope to get to the big one… The Winchester show at Cody WY. You can’t find a better bunch of people or a better collection of fabulous Winchester’s.

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May 10, 2016 - 9:27 pm
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Model 1892 serial number 1 sold for $75,000 a couple years ago if my memory is correct.  Model 1892 serial number 29 is offered by Leroy Merz right now for $15,000. http://merzantiques.com/item/winchester-model-92-serial-number-29    

Model 1892 SN 65 sold for $5800 off of Gunbroker some time back.  It is a fairly low condition but not beat up 44 WCF sporting rifle.  It is interesting that Model 1892 SN 99 was also sold at RIA back in December of 2010 for $10,529 and in this latest sale at RIA only sold for $6000.  I do not have it noted as being refinished in the 2010 auction so that may have occurred since and thus the lower valuation.

Michael

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Model 1892 / Model 61 Collector, Research, Valuation

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May 11, 2016 - 1:40 am
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Michael,

I think there are a lot of firearms collectors that will pay a huge premium for low serial numbers. Classic car guys  are the same.

Walter

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May 11, 2016 - 1:49 pm
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Here’s another example of a two digit Winchester that recently sold on Gunbroker.  It does appear that the market is strong for these early guns.

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=554208011

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July 29, 2016 - 2:20 am
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Way overpriced in my opinion. While some collectors will have interest in it because it is a very early serial number, many will not be interested due to the relatively “hard used” condition. While I do believe that the serial number adds a premium to the value of that gun, it does not add up to $15K.

Bert

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July 29, 2016 - 2:51 am
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Bert,

Are you trying to disparage this seller?  Michael stated that he thought 1892 serial number 1 sold for around $75,000. What condition was it in?

Walter

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July 29, 2016 - 3:46 am
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Walter,

Absolutely not, and quite frankly, I am insulted by your unfounded veiled accusation! I clearly stated that it was my opinion that it was overpriced, and the last time I checked, we are all entitled to share our opinions (without being accusatory) .

What serial number “1” sold for is unrelated to serial number 29. Any verified serial number “1” is going to sell serious $$$ simply because it was the FIRST one of its series… regardless of the condition. Serial number 29 does not share that same lauded position as “1”.

Bert

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