Here we have a good example of a Deluxe Marlin Model 1893 Lever Action Sporting Rifle in one of its higher level configurations. This one has Grade 2 Level Factory featuring light scrollwork and two game scenes. The engraving was almost certainly by the hand of Marlin master engraver, Conrad F. Ulrich who "did almost all of the engraved Marlins during the period of 1881 to 1910", Marlin Firearms, page 532, by Lt. Col. William Brophy. The stocks are special order select grade imported walnut with "London Oil Finish" and fine checkering in the Grade "B" pattern with pistol grip and standard crescent buttplate. According to the Marlin catalog from 1897, the wood alone added almost $15.00 to the overall cost of the rifle. Caliber is 30-30 with a special order 28" octagon barrel made of "SPECIAL SMOKELESS STEEL" and full magazine. It also has a special order takedown frame. Thes were very popular feature with hunters in the late 19th century who could afford to travel on expeditions via railroad or boat and needed a compact rifle capable of being transported in a hard/soft case. Although the advantage was seldom utilized, the takedown feature also offered the opportunity to purchase additional barrels in different calibers and configurations. Sights include a Marlin combination rear tang sight, standard semi-buckhorn rear sight, and standard Rocky Mountain front sight with German silver blade. Frame, lever, hammer, buttplate, and forend cap were case color hardened while the barrel and magazine tube were blued.
Serial number is in the 164,000 range making it pre-1898 antique production. Top of frame marked "MARLIN SAFETY" with inventor LL Hepburn's 1887, 1889, and 1893 patent dates on the barrel. Top tang (under the tang sight) is marked "MODEL 1893". Additional patent dates are located on the takedown mechanism.
If this rifle were in pristine condition, it would be worth well north of $10K but unfortunately, while it does have a fair bit of original finish remaining, it also has some small spots of light pitting from improper storage. Overall, it's still in NRA Antique Very Good Condition and looks great. The original case colors on the frame have faded to a pleasing nickel silver appearance which provides a near perfect backdrop for the engraving. There are some minor spots of oxidation from poor storage but engraving is sharp and clear. Hammer and lever still show some mottled case colors. Barrel has 75% original blue while the magazine tube is mostly a smooth gray patina with 30% original blue remaining. Stocks are in Fine+ condition with Very Good checkering and approximately 85% original high gloss finish remaining with a little bit of discoloration near the buttplate. Action cycles nicely with a sharp well-defined bore in VG+ to Fine Condition. If you're a collector with caviar tastes but constrained to a budget, this high grade engraved deluxe lever action rifle has all of the same bells and whistles of those high condition examples that the auction houses love to sell for big money; only this one is half price. As advertised in the original Marlin catalogs of the 19th and early 20th centuries, it comes with an original Ideal No. 6 Combination Mold and Reloading Tool in 30-30.