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My father, Harold Stitt, recently passed away, and when I was going through his guns I found this Model 1895 in .303 British (above). We did a lot of hunting with this rifle, which is by far his straightest-shooting one. The serial number 22916 and the date August 23, 1898, are stamped on it. I have been offered what I think are small amounts for the rifle, so I would appreciate your expert advice on what the value would be.
The Winchester 1895 is very much in demand among Winchester collectors. The serial number of your rifle indicates it left the factory in 1899, and that it falls into the range for which records still exist.
The model 1895 was made from 1899 to 1931, with a total production of 425,881 rifles. Of those, roughly two-thirds were shipped to Russia as part of a military contract in 1915. Judging from the photo, your rifle appears to be in good to very good condition. Before bidding, serious collectors will want to see more detailed photos and conduct an in-person examination to check for signs of rust pitting or refinishing, and worn or damaged parts.
At a well-publicized firearms auction, I can assure you this rifle will draw a lot of interest from Winchester collectors, especially because of its low serial number. There is a wide range of values on U.S.-based websites, from $800 to $1,000 for models in rough condition, to $5,000-plus for those in 95 per cent of their original condition. Rifles with takedown or octagon barrels, or chambered for the .405 Winchester cartridge, will also command a higher price.
Assuming your rifle is entirely original and in good shape all around, I’d expect it to bring in $2,000 to $3,000 at a Canadian auction. Rifles such as this don’t come up for sale all that often, so it’s difficult to pin down a precise value.
I recommend you get a factory letter, which would authenticate the year of production, as well as any special features, the original buyer and any other information on file. These official letters make valuable collectibles such as your rifle more appealing to potential buyers. To obtain your letter, send the rifle’s details to Cody Firearms Museum, 720 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Wyoming 82414. There is a fee for this service, and the last I heard it was US$70.