What is this pistol worth...if anything?


February 25, 2011, 03:15 PM
THis old pistol was given to me by my mother who is 88. She said her first husband, who was killed in the Korean War, brought it home on one of his leaves. We already have pistols and long guns and if this is worth anything, I want to sell it and buy silver. My husband fired it and it works great. It says J. P. Sauer and Sohn Suhl and Cal. 7.65 on the barrel. On the other side it says "patent". On the trigger guard there's an eagle and what looks like a 37 below it. Right underneath the serial number there's another eagle and a N. Above the serial number, up next to the sight is another eagle and another N. The grip has an SS on it. There's a lever de-cocker on the left side. It's a semi automatic. Boom boom boom. Can anyone help me? I've tried to show all the markings on it. It has an old brown leather holster too.
286308 is the serial number.





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February 25, 2011, 04:02 PM
Do you have any pictures? That would really help (especially if you are interested in the value).

Just from the written description, could it possibly be a Sauer 38H (http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg/de/sauer-38h-e.html)?

Same number of digits in the SN, decocker, and most of the other things you described.

I'm not sure what it was doing in Korea... I bet that's quite a story!

February 25, 2011, 04:22 PM
The pictures show up when I look at my post. THere are 5 of them. You can't see them?

February 25, 2011, 04:28 PM
sorry, I can't see any pics (or even red boxes with x in them for that matter) just some blank space. Did you upload them to a site like photobucket that you can link me to?

Going from just the written text (as I can't see the pics... sorry)

After a bit more research, I am pretty sure it is a Sauer 38H. The 37N is a Nazi military acceptance mark, and the SN range puts it as a second variation.

Here are two other sites I found that can provide more detailed information.

Pistols of the German Wehrmacht (http://www.tague.at/pistolen/en_index.htm?/pistolen/pages/en_sauer38h.htm)

Sauer 38H (http://www.p38guns.com/Sauer38h.htm)

As far as value, it really depends on the condition and any supporting documents. For example, there is one on Gun Broker that looks like it was buried in Poland for 60 years then put up for sale that is going for about $150 right now, and another with documentation down to the individual soldier (SS) who the gun was issued to is *asking* over $1,000 (don't know if he'll get it though, a lot of people have high asking prices that never get met...)

If I'm not even close to the type of gun, let me know and I'll pull this.

Shadow 7D
February 25, 2011, 04:44 PM
what is the date, there are 3 pistols it could be, the 1913, the 1930, both of which have a almost tube like upper, with a large, almost water/plumbing like screw on rear cap.

The 3rd is the 38H, which is what it sounds like
The proofs are german Nitro (smokeless) proofs. They are all quality handguns, and if you want to sell, there are collectors who would like to buy them.

as for price, it depends on condition, etc. Picture would help ALOT


February 25, 2011, 04:47 PM
That's really strange that the pics show up for me, but not for you. I need to try it again. I probably didn't do it right. Is there any way to post them here directly from my Windows photo gallery on my PC? Or do I have to upload them onto the web somewhere and then use the URL from there?

Anyway, it sounds like the gun you're describing. It's in really good condition. I asked my mother how her husband got the gun...and she said that he said "took if off a dead Kraut officer". So I guess as some point he was in Germany. He was a pilot.

Shadow 7D
February 25, 2011, 04:59 PM
Ok, check out the help forum, they have a how-to for pics, basicly you upload them as an attachment, then post the attachment as the image location.

Oh, and, most of these pistols were made for the Civilian and Police markets, and even the ones they bought commercially overseas(were taken off a dead..)
post pics and I'm sure someone can tell you if it was a military gun, and I think most military were for the Luftwaffe, which doesn't mean that an officer didn't buy one for his personal use.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
February 25, 2011, 05:00 PM
The reason SHE can see the pictures is because they still reside on HER PC!

She needs to upload them either to an image sharing server (I use Image Shack), or create an Album in her Profile on this site, upload to that album, then link to those pictures, then everyone will see them.

February 25, 2011, 05:03 PM
I've heard there is a way to do it straight from your pc, but I just stick with photobucket. It's free and pretty easy to set up. There should be a "how to" sticky somewhere around here about how to get pics from photobucket to the thread.

As far as value, if it is in really good condition, I'd hazard a guess at around $300-400. But if you can find the right buyer, the sky is the limit. Especially if you can document its history (ship date, what unit it was issued to etc.) I'm not the most up to speed on the values of the rarer surplus guns though. Any of you guys here who collect these things want to chime in?

I'm not sure I would rely on the story of "taken from a dead Kraut officer" as something to bump up the value though. Not saying that it didn't happen, but a lot of times (especially with Lugers) you'll hear that story and then run the numbers and find out that it was just a commercial gun from the 1920s. When you are selling both the gun and the story, you need hard documentation.

February 25, 2011, 07:18 PM
Can't see pics. just red x in box

Shadow 7D
February 25, 2011, 07:29 PM
Ok, go the the full editor, look for the paper clip
up load the photos, then go back and edit, go advance bottom right, Right click the picture, then copy it using 'Copy Link Location', not the copy function, then paste the link location in the picture prompt (second from the right up top.

and then the rest of use should be able to see them too.

February 25, 2011, 09:39 PM
Ok, thank you all very much. Go back and look at the opening post and see if the pics appear now. I hope so. Can anyone give me a direction to go to sell it? Would Gunbroker be recommended?

February 25, 2011, 09:42 PM
I see pics but have no idea

February 25, 2011, 09:52 PM
Yep, looks like a Sauer 38H.

Gun Broker is good if you don't have the best idea of what the gun is worth because it is an auction site like ebay. The downside is that someone has to be looking specifically for this type of gun in order to find it. Being as it is a lesser known model, that might no be the quickest way to get it sold.

I would recommend selling it in the for sale section here. There's lots of activity on this board and people will probably click on the ad just to see what a Sauer 38H is, so you're bound to get views. The biggest downside I see for this route is that you really need a better evaluation of what the price should be. I know I can get in the ballpark as far as value, but I have never seen one of these sold before, so I have no idea of what it might actually go for.

Whatever you do, DO NOT sell it to your local gun shop. While I wont go as far as saying they will lowball you (which some might just for the heck of it) do remember that they have to make a profit off of it when they sell it, so they have to offer you less than what you would make on the open market.

February 25, 2011, 10:00 PM
What he said. Personally, I'd keep it, as it seems to have a history.

Here is the Wikipedia page on it:


Nothing about price, but good info nonetheless.

February 25, 2011, 10:13 PM
Here's the holster.

I've tried to show a close up of the tiny markings on it.




February 25, 2011, 10:38 PM
I'm not positive that is a "corect" holster for a collector. The back says "P. Mod. 27" which I believe is in reference to the CZ 27 (http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg/chex/cz-27-p27-t-e.html) pistol while it was being built under Nazi occupation. It is very likely that the holster was picked up by the original German solder because he needed a replacement holster, but it slightly lowers the value of the package. (But to put it more correctly, having the "correct" holster is just a bonus, so for someone who isn't a hard core collector, it won't matter.) Also, the pistol was issued with 2 mags, so if you still have both of them, that's a plus.

I would also second Strykervet's opinion that you keep the gun, as it has family history and is pretty rare. I think it would be hard to find another one of these if you ever wanted to replace it.

That being said, I think my earlier estimate might have been a bit off... I found some that are good collector grade (not perfect, but very good +) that are going for $500-600+ depending on condition.

Now for the not so great news... yours is in rougher shape than most of those guns, so I don't think you can get quite that much unless there is something that can really make this one stand out.

Ron James
February 25, 2011, 10:38 PM
Introduced in 1938, the 38H was never as popular as the Walther PP. However it was used by the German military and a whole slew of other German organizations. Yours is a German Army ( WWII ) issued as is the holster. Everything connected to WWII is raising in price and there is a high interest in firearms with German wartime military markings.

February 25, 2011, 10:48 PM
Ron, are you sure about the holster? I thought it was correct until I saw the "P. Mod. 27" markings on the back. Do you think the Germans would have issued holsters with different markings than those of the gun they carried? I know they did pretty much everything imaginable to get guns out near the end of the war, but considering this pistol is a 2nd variation, I would think it was made before the Germans started increasing production (and lowering quality) at the end of the war. That would lead me to expect that they wouldn't cut corners like swapping holsters.

They do look very similar to the original Sauer 38H holsters though, so I guess anything is possible.

February 25, 2011, 10:55 PM
I really appreciate all of the info. I'm going to do some research and decide if I want to sell it.

My aunt, who is German, was in Germany during the war and was a part of the "German Youth Movement"...she has a signed copy of Mein Kampf. If I could get her to part with that, I would put the gun and the book together and it would probably go pretty high at auction.

February 25, 2011, 11:06 PM
Not a problem. I always love researching new types of guns and action types, especially when the info gets put to better use than just being stored on my computer!

I'm sure that signed copy of Mein Kampf would be worth a fortune if it was put up for auction. Especially if you included the Sauer with it. If you end up going that route, I would DEFINITELY have it sold by a professional auction house that specializes in items of significant historical nature like that.

Good luck!

Shadow 7D
February 25, 2011, 11:21 PM
check out Rock Island Auction, they just had an auction with a number of J.P Sauer and Sohns, (the S&S on the grip BTW) up.

February 26, 2011, 06:38 PM
I wouldn't bundle the two for auction.

Recently one of the 'auction' shows on Discovery had some signed Hitler stuff, they hard a hard time finding a buyer. It eventually went to a museum. Hitler's signature (beleive it or not, it's particularly rare--he signed thousands of copies of that book.)

The book isn't directly related to the firearm.

It needs a scrub down with a bronze brush to knock the surface rust off of it, but there is one at Simpson's right now in about the same condition with the asking price of $1000.


You can probably get $750 if you are patient. You might want to contact Simpson's, they certainly buy and sell a lot of this kind of stuff.

The holster is very rough, but period correct. I wouldn't try selling it seperately, as the condition makes it a neat accessory to the pistol, but not good enough to warrant a high price. (In mint condition such a holster could sell for $150 or more).

Shadow 7D
February 26, 2011, 07:07 PM
You will get more for the Pistol and holster, as period correct, esp, as both the 38 and the CZ27 were often Police issue sidearms.

Jim K
February 26, 2011, 09:02 PM
Unfortunately, most "signed" copies of Mein Kampf were done with an auto pen. The book was "suggested" reading and nearly every good German home had a copy; it was a standard wedding present in the Nazi era, supposedly to inspire the happy couple to produce Aryan kinder for the German war machine and eastward expansion. Autographed copies were common and many were sold or distributed to Nazi party members and others, but only a very few personal gifts were actually signed by Hitler himself. The profit from sales of the book, BTW, was the major source of der Führer's personal income throughout the war. One small thing to his credit, he did not enrich himself from the public treasury as many dictators have done and as many lesser Nazi party and German government officials did. That did not make him a good guy.


February 26, 2011, 09:50 PM
pictures are excellent! not sure why some aren't able to see them???

nice looking pistol. i just get a strange sort of feeling when i see stuff with the nazi signs and symbols on it. i guess the fact that my father, uncles, in fact most if not all males in my family that were of age at the time, fought against the nazis. in fact some never returned after the bulge, never found their remains.

so seeing the swastika or eagle with wings outstretched, just makes me feel strange.

February 27, 2011, 08:19 PM
Thank you everyone for all the good research and information. I don't know what I want to do with the gun at this point.:confused: Part of me wants to keep it for posterity and part of me wants to see what I can get for it.

Oh well...decisions decisions. :(

Owen Meany
February 28, 2011, 09:02 PM

Nice Sauer. By the way, please do yourself and the gun a favor and do not "scrub it down" with a bronze brush or anything else.

March 1, 2011, 03:52 AM
Bronze won't take off the bluing, just the rust.

March 1, 2011, 11:13 AM
Dr. Rob. I see that pistol on Simpson's went for $1,005:eek: I'm surprised.
What is "bluing"?:confused:

March 1, 2011, 02:20 PM
Can someone tell me what "bluing" is and why it's important to the value of a pistol?

March 1, 2011, 02:35 PM
Bluing is the type of finish on the pistol. It is important to the value because it is a decent indicator of how much use and wear the pistol has seen and because better bluing makes for a prettier looking gun.

If that is just surface rust, you may be able to get it off with a little bit of gun oil on a rag and not have to worry about the bronze brush...

March 1, 2011, 04:24 PM
Thanks for the info. It is just surface rust. I've had it under my mattress for a few months. It will probably come off with a rag. The gun seems to be in perfect condition. Nothing cracked or broken. Fires flawlessly. If I could get $1000 for it I would probably sell it....but I'm still in a quandry.:confused:

March 8, 2011, 08:34 PM
You definitly have a Sauer 38h. The nice thing about these pistols is that the decocker lever, also cocks the gun into single action mode. I have a few myself, and there are different variations. Yours actually has markings and a safety, so it was probably made towards the beginning of the war. The eagle 37 is a Military issue mark. These Pistols are nice, but aren't that rare. I would really be suprised if you get $1000 for it. It is a nice example of a 38h though. BTW the H stands for Hammerless, and the 38 it the year the began making them..1938.

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