Have an antique old west gun? Get a factory letter (VIDEO)
By Kristin Alberts
Any Winchester firearms collector worth their salt will instantly recognize the familiar logo-ed paper of a factory letter. Those documents open the doors to the often-interesting stories for century-old weapons. But how does one come across such a document?
Jessica A. Bennet authenticates such documents as the guardian of records for the Cody Firearms Museum, one of the most fantastic collections of old west firearms in the world, in Cody, Wyoming. If you ever come across one of these letters, you most likely have seen her signature at the bottom.
“I get to work with old paper and I get to help people find out more about something that is important to their history,” she said, describing her job. With her massive database of original factory records, she travels the world attending collector association events and large gun shows to remotely perform serial number searches for attendees. I met her at the Winchester Arms Collectors Association in Cody recently where she walked me through her process.
This actual Winchester letter for a Model 1885 rifle defines specifics such as barrel length, type, and weight, thus allowing the collector to know whether his or her rifle has been altered from original. Customer name has