We are pleased to offer yet another scarce Marlin Lever Action Deluxe rifle. This time, its the the Model 1889 series which was produced from 1889-1899. In case it looks familiar, the 89 is basically the father to the famous Model 1894 which is still produced today. Deluxe 1889's are not very common in comparison to other Deluxe Marlins. This one has "GOT IT ALL" starting with a Pre-1898 Antique serial number in the 60,000 range. Next, its in the largest caliber offered in the Model 1889, the desirable .44-40 cartridge. Finally, its in a great configuration which for all of you Collectors out there who stubbornly insist on having only octagon barrels, this one delivers with a 24" octagon barrel, full magazine, crescent buttplate, pistol grip stock, checkered, and fancy walnut wood. This rifle also sports a Lyman tang sight with its correct component Lyman Front sight with ivory bead.
Overall this one grades well into the NRA Antique Fine PLUS category with 80% original blue on the barrel and magazine tube and 50% receiver blue. 85% fire blue on the loading port. Many of the screws still retain their original blue as well. The hammer has 80% original case colors while the buttplate and lever have mostly silvered out with case colors in the protected areas. Nice crisp markings throughout with "MARLIN SAFETY" on the top of the receiver and correct 2 line barrel address with 1887 and 1889 patent dates. The wood is in excellent condition with only a few handling markings. 95% of the original varnish is intact with fantastic checkering that is still sharp, and perfect wood to metal fit. There is one small chip of wood missing in the corner of the tang just below the hammer. Action is flawless and the bore is in Excellent condition, still bright and shiny with strong lands and grooves, and no pitting.
I've always been a Winchester collector so this next paragraph is about Marlins told from a Winchester collectors point of view. This is only my personal opinion on the antique gun market which I'm basing solely on my travels to major shows across the country. I'm not an expert and these are only some basic observations. In case you've missed what's happening in the last couple years with antique guns, the rise in prices at shows and auctions has been easily noticed. It seems that the market is driven from "top down" meaning that the intense demand we currently see for pristine and rare forms of antique firearms are becoming further out of reach for most collectors. I've felt it too because my capitol base is having a hard time keeping up with the rise in prices. This steeper rise on the top is pulling the rest of market upwards from behind. It seems as though many of the nicer Winchesters and Marlins I had access to just a few years ago are now becoming a thing of the past with lesser quality items rising to fill into their places. For example, the rise in prices for Deluxe grade Winchesters have ranged from steady (on the more traditional models like the 1873 which I'm praying have finally matured and will stay around 20K's) to dramatic with some of the lower-valued models doubling in value in just the span of 3 to 4 years...the 1894 Winchester Deluxe is a prime example of this....the last one I had a chance to buy was in a less desirable configuration with 70% finish for 4800 dollars....this would have been a 2500 dollar deluxe only three years ago....now most of the nicer ones I see are well over 5K.
So what does this have to do with Marlins? For many years, Marlins have been over-shadowed and thus, stayed relatively affordable in lieu of their comparable Winchester models and configurations.. With so many of the higher end Winchester Deluxes off the market, the ones that do come up for sale are now virtually out of reach for most collectors whenever they're in a desirable configuration with condition. The vacuum or void left within the market for higher grade lever actions have made these high quality Marlins more attractive than ever for collectors who want to own a higher grade rifle but missed the Winchester boat. If you've wanted to own a nicer grade lever action in a desirable configuration, deluxe Marlins such as this 1889 are an excellent value in a world of soaring prices. If money were equal to the floors on a tall building, I'd rather be standing on the 2nd or 3rd story with a Marlin with 18 floors above me climb than being stuck on the top 20th floor with nowhere to go but down. This is a great configuration of an early Marlin with lots of room for future growth in terms of an investment.