Just so you know; the serial numbers on Marlin rifles don't always reflect the dates they were actually assembled or shipped. Although a serial number like your's would indicate a 1898 date, it may letter as a date much later, (even years later!) I have lettered many Marlins over the years, and have found some that dated 5-6 years later than the serial number would indicate.
Hope this helps.
redshift; You might try posting you rifle over at the marlin collectors association Gunnrunner has access
to the old records and might be able to give you a shipping date? The standard length barrel on the 1893
was 26 inch.The 28 inch was a special order.