"MARLIN MODEL 1881 LIGHTWEIGHT LEVER ACTION RIFLE. SN 15592. Cal. 38-55. Very rare small receiver '81 with 28" lightweight oct bbl, full magazine, Lyman ivory bead front sight & Marlin semi-buckhorn rear sight with adjustable aperture & a Lyman large loop tang sight. Mounted with very highly figured, checkered French walnut with serpentine pistol grip stock & altered Swiss buttplate. Receiver is beautifully engraved, undoubtedly by Conrad Ulrich, with a large oval vignette of a running deer & dog in a woodland scene on left side with a smaller vignette of a grizzly bear in a woodland scene on right side, all surrounded by fine foliate arabesque patterns. It has simple line borders with light foliate arabesque patterns over top of receiver & dust cover. Bottom of receiver has an outline around serial number with a small arabesque scroll. This exact rifle is pictured on pp. 150 & 158 of the book Marlin Firearms, Brophy. The caption on the photograph on p. 158 states "Rare Model 1881 Small-Receiver Rifle, Serial Number 15,592, which is engraved with nickel-plated receiver and forearm cap. The 28-in. octagon barrel is in caliber .38-55. The buttplate is of the Swiss type but with the two prongs removed." There are two plugged holes on left side of receiver probably from an old scope mount. Very few of these small frame rifles were ever made and of those, extremely few were engraved making this an extremely rare Marlin rifle. Consignor states that this rifle was the personal property of Lt. Col. William S. Brophy, the author of the above referenced publication. CONDITION: Very fine. Bbl retains about 90% thin orig blue turning plum. Magazine tube is a thin blue/gray patina with scattered spots of surface discoloration. Receiver & lever retain most of their orig factory nickel plating with scattered spots of light discoloration. Forend cap retains 95-96% orig nickel plating and buttplate most of an old restored nickel finish. Wood is sound with a couple of scratches on buttstock and usual nicks & scratches with a repair in heel of stock and retains most of a very old restored finish. Mechanics are fine, strong bore with good shine, dark in the grooves. 4-36205 JR43 (25,000-35,000)"
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