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WInchester 1873 Upper Tang Fleur de Lis Variation Questions
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January 28, 2024 - 5:09 am
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I have a question regarding some of the tang markings on the Winchester 1873 after they moved from the plainer style found on the 2nd models and before the “trademark” was added to the stamping.  I do not currently have any more “advanced” books on the 1873 except for the Madis book, so apologize if this is covered elsewhere in published materials.

I am aware of the standard markings that accompany the “Model 1873” on most models, and that there is a variation seen on some of the muskets and other rifles/carbines in the 570k range that has more lines to it and not the three flowers(?) that are found on either end of the typical stamping, but what piqued my curiosity was the 2nd Model on gunbroker that sold back in December, s/n 86856.  The top part of the design is the same as the standard one found, but the bottom half has a pronounced downward curve that I don’t recall seeing before on any other 1873.  I’ve attached a link to the listing and also (hopefully) attaching a file showing the standard marking, the 570k variation, and the 3rd one I’m asking about.

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/1008403195

Is this possibly the first design used on a late second model, before transitioning to the more common design, and how rare/unusual is it to see any design on the upper tang on an 1873?  Are there other known variations?

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January 28, 2024 - 2:25 pm
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There are people more knowledgeable than me on M1873 variations. I’ll wait for them to comment.

I see the rifle sold.  It sold for WAY more than my wildest imagination allows me to think it was worth.

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January 28, 2024 - 4:31 pm
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Grant,

I’m not seeing what your seeing as something different other than the flordalee (flower designs) on each end. The lower half of the “Model 1873” with the curved tails coming down I see on most model stamps. Her are some from higher serial numbers.

Bob

2024-01-28_102615.jpgImage Enlarger This is the one from your post

 

574xxx.jpgImage Enlarger564518.jpgImage Enlarger

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January 28, 2024 - 6:23 pm
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  The Jim Gordan book volume 1 page 169 has pictures of the five types of upper tang marks. Yours is type 3, used in the serial number 86,000-600,000 range. The Fleur de Lis variations will differ slightly in the types. These dyes were hand made by their engravers and no single dye can do 514,000 upper tangs. Who knows how many dyes were made during this run. Judging from factory engraving pattern variations I would guess they had some latitude on decorative design of floral patterns. An engraver is a artist and the gun is his canvas, maybe he wanted his mark not someone else’s.  I have seen dyes that are signed by their engravers.

  Serial number dyes vary slightly in the same time period. By looking very closely at markings you can spot flaws or variations on guns in the same serial number range. These things come in handy when determining originality of a serial number. Even studying dyes from a restorer to find the flaw will help in the future. They are the finger print of the gun. T/R

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January 28, 2024 - 11:25 pm
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Thank you for the replies.  I agree the example here was quite overpriced (2x maybe?), but, they sell for what they sell…

Yes, the only difference that I saw was on the flower design itself.  The 564518 image Bob shared is the one I’ve seen on nearly every third model (outside the 570k variation he also posted), just with variances based on wear to the gun, wear to the die or individual die variances, just never seen the downward pattern below the flowers vs. the x that the typical die(s) have.  Guess I’ll just have to compare more late second model’s as they come up.

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January 29, 2024 - 12:03 am
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  Grant,

 In ” The Winchester 1873 Handbook” by George Stone page 35 there is a good picture of a 85,000 serial number range tang. It is an exact duplicate of Bob’s lower left picture.

 A search of RIA’s past auctions might turn up good photos.

                                                                 T/R 

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January 29, 2024 - 2:31 am
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RIA are not good for looking for details in pictures, they only show the whole guns not the detailed closeups in recent years unless its a high end gun. That gun is the only one I remember seeing with that kind detailed fleur de lis and its a early model stamp with the fleur de lis.

Bob

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