Calling all Luger experts...


April 28, 2011, 12:56 AM
Heres the background: Have a gentlemen looking to sell some of his deceased uncles guns. I will not view them until Saturday. One of them is a Luger. I need help on knowing WHAT to look for (and what to look OUT for!) I am not expecting any of you to hazard a guess on value based on the extremely limited information I am about to provide, but was hoping some of you knowledgeable types could give me an elementary foundation so I can go into the meeting prepared. Heres what I know:

-He described it as a "German Luger 9mm" He said there is a marking on it that says "1917"
-He said the serial number is 86XX
-has a matching holster that has a guys name in it, the number 86XX, Berlin 1939, a bird over a swastika and I believe he said it had a pouch for an extra magazine.
-He said there was a combo tool (possibly in the holster?) and I think he said it was numbered 86XX

He stated his uncle brought this back from wwii.

He has not had this particular gun appraised. He took it to someone who said they were not knowledgeable enough to appraise them.

I am guessing this one might be out of my budget. I am a dealer, but I only have so much $ for inventory. Anyways, I dont want to go in and drop way too much money for a fake or something worse. My instincts tell me it is probably legitimate but its still a lot of money....

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rocky branch
April 28, 2011, 02:05 AM
Too complex a question without a lot of pictures and details.
Lugers are a very complicated subject.
Look up the luger forum and you will see there are guidelines for identifying variations.
Matching tool suggests the rig was a police reissue, but that is a small point.
The key here is a list of markings and pics are almost a requirement these days.
Value 1000 on up.
Matching numbers, condition and variation or model drive prices on lugers.

April 28, 2011, 04:24 AM
Thanks Rocky for the suggestion about the Luger Forum, very helpful tip.

Too complex a question without a lot of pictures and details.
Lugers are a very complicated subject.

I understand, and agree. Im not hoping to get definitive answers about this gun from the ill defined information I have provided. Unfortunately I dont have the luxury of more information at this point. What I am hoping for is a few "basic" guidelines / red flags to be aware of. IE, maybe 3" barrels are commercial, while 3.5" are military. (Yes I totally made that up, im just trying to give a hypothetical example).

Here is a specific question I think can be answered without me providing more information: Let's say I can confirm this was a German military Luger. How much does a matching holster add?

Also, good tip on the combo tool Rocky, I will investigate that.

April 28, 2011, 04:28 AM
Matching tool suggests the rig was a police reissue, but that is a small point.

So would you say a police re-issue would be less valuable than something taken right off of the soldier? This guy made it sound like it was a WWii bringback, but I have found in my limited years in this business, a lot of honest people have misunderstandings of a guns history, and the facts get mixed up over the years.

April 28, 2011, 06:21 AM
Okay, so I just visited the Luger Forum, I am starting to comprehend, (I think) the immense amount of variations for this Luger. I knew in threory how complicated it was, but am now starting to finally get it. The forum info stated that there are over 3000 variations:eek::eek::eek:

Okay, so I guess I will just have to take one of their data sheets with me, fill out the info, and get back to the guy, maybe he will let me take some pics also.

Okay dumb question, but would a "1917" marked luger even be used in WWII? He said it was a WWII bringback...

Jim Watson
April 28, 2011, 01:12 PM
The Germans used 8mm Mausers and 9mm Lugers in both WW I and WW II. Darned right any WW I smallarm not surrendered or destroyed after they lost would be brought back into service for WW II.

3000 variations? At least. As one guy said, only somewhat tongue in cheek, there were over a million Lugers made and if you listen to a collector, each one is a distinct variation.

April 28, 2011, 03:06 PM
I've been trying to research a Luger that doesn't have a matched barrel and frame serial number, trust me when I say I've already asked 20 questions and have gotten 20 different answers. some Lugers were reworked to get them back in service, some to satisfy an export/import law and the list goes on and on. If you have matching numbers you are a step ahead of the game. Then factor in finish, grips, magazine (many are not numbered). There is a Galesburg, Illinois Luger collector (I did a google search) that has many variations at many different price levels that may give you a ballpark idea if you can match the Luger you are looking at to what they have listed. Best of luck.

April 28, 2011, 04:21 PM

This is that 'collector'. Simpson's can give you a quick and dirty price comparison on a wide variety of Lugers.

Take lots of pics, note every little mark you can find (there are bunches).

Many WW2 bring backs came out of piles of turned in weapons, they may or may not have 'capture papers.' IE they were 'captured' after hostilities ceased.

Jim K
April 28, 2011, 04:28 PM
Good pictures of both sides, the top, front, and the front and back grip straps would be almost a necessity. Also a plus would be all matching parts (last two digits of serial number in most cases) and a bigger plus would be a matching magazine.

The gun was made in 1917, and the holster is obviously from the WWII era, a very common situation. Guns and holsters were procured separately, as in the U.S.


April 28, 2011, 05:14 PM
My ignorance of Lugers is going to be legendary. If we hadn't inherited one I'd be hard pressed to tell you how to chamber a round :banghead: > Godspeed on your quest and I truly mean that.:)

April 28, 2011, 08:11 PM
years ago i sold a orignal luger holster for a friend, the holster alone fetched me 50 buks at a gun show with the really wasnt in all that good of shape and i had restiched most of it but yu really couldnt tell. in todays dollars id say it would of been worth at least 100 buks.

April 28, 2011, 08:51 PM
Great info guys. If allowed, I will be taking several pictures- If he is reasonable on price and it is worth pursuing, I will post pics on here both to gather info and to share what is probably a really cool gun.

Heres a hypothetical: Based on the information given, and assuming 90% condition; If he offers a selling price, and wants to sell it Saturday, what price would be so good that I should buy it without any further investigation?

I assume $500. $750? $1000? Sometimes if a good deal is offered, it is best to strike while the irons hot rather than wait a week or two researching.

If this question is impossible to answer, I totally understand.

April 28, 2011, 08:56 PM
The gun was made in 1917, and the holster is obviously from the WWII era, a very common situation. Guns and holsters were procured separately, as in the U.S.

Thanks Jim, I was kind of wondering but didnt want to ask.

If it was "captured" (from a pile or otherwise) would the Luger have the nazi markings?

Is there an easy way to tell if its a police gun or rework, and if so, would it have been used by police before or after wwii?

April 29, 2011, 10:58 AM
I added some pictures on my Colt Bisley thread in this forum for my DWM 1920 Commercial Luger should you like to see what I'm trying to deal with.


April 29, 2011, 07:02 PM
Generally if all the bits on the pistol itself match, and it's halfway decent, a bare Luger pistol with magazine is worth $750 to a grand. Baseline. Add in goodies like holsters, which can fetch a couple hundred by themselves, and go from there. A complete matching pistol-holster-tool-mag-sparemag rig can often top three grand.

April 29, 2011, 08:20 PM
Do all the parts match? Everything should have the last two digits of the serial number stamp into it including all the pins.
Does it have both original magazines? Look for the serial numbers stamped on the bottom. A 1917 Luger would have wood bottom magazines.
Look to see if it's been reblued. Refinished Lugers are not as desirable.
1917 is before the treaty of Versailles, it could have been use in World War I and World War II both. Please get some pictures of the gun, any markings and the markings on the holster I would love to see it sounds very interesting.

Jim K
April 29, 2011, 08:34 PM
Lugers already in military or police possession when the Nazis took over were not given any new markings. The inspection, proof and acceptance marks for Lugers (and other firearms) made under the Nazi regime were changed, mostly from the earlier style eagle to the Nazi "stick" eagle with straight wings and, for the acceptance mark, the eagle with a swastika in its claws.


April 29, 2011, 08:58 PM
Sorry guys I just realized that I posted this on a forum that I have not yet formally introduce myself on. I thought I was on another forum, I've got too many on taptalk on my iPhone.

April 30, 2011, 03:18 PM
Thanks to all for helping me out on this one. Your advice, in addition to lots of internet research helped me avoid a risky purchase today. It was a DWM 1917, but the serial numbers did not match, the barrel was also a replacement. The mags were aluminum bottomed. A couple of the pieces looked as though they had some very small pits under the bluing, making me think it was a reblue. I told the guy all of this, and told him it still had value, but I wasnt sure how much. I think if he would have said 500, I would have taken the chance but he mentioned he felt it was at least a four figure gun. It may have been, but decided that was for someone else to figure out. It was not a wasted journey however. Picked up some other nice pieces including a Savage 99E in fantastic condition, a Steyr 1912, and a Hi Standard Sport King in about 95-98%. I passed up on a Belgium Browning Light 12 with Vent rib, 98%. Im guessing it would have taken 750 to buy it, wasnt knowledgeable enough about them to risk that much. Heres some pics of the ones I did buy (just for the fun of it). Im drooling over the Savage, its got nice case coloring on the lever, hardly any flaws. The Steyr is interesting, better condition than most of what I saw on Gunbroker.

Thanks again guys.

highlander 5
April 30, 2011, 03:50 PM
Didn't happen to get that Luger off a dead officer/soldier,did he?:neener::neener::neener:

April 30, 2011, 05:50 PM
I'm jealous of the 1912. They seldom show up on Gunbroker, just perpetual overpriced relists, so I've yet to find one. Is it a police rechamber?

Ron James
April 30, 2011, 06:40 PM
Luger's are never captured form a expired enemy, they are always taken from a SS Colonel in hand to hand combat:), and most times it is just after the SS officer had it chromed. :D:D:D

May 1, 2011, 12:58 PM
Is it a police rechamber?

What I would I look for to tell if it is or not?

May 8, 2011, 09:26 PM

German re-issue Steyrs will have a barrel in 9mm Parabellum rather than the original 9mm Steyr.

Left slide will have a large number '08' on it forward of the serial number.

There would be an 'eagle/N' proof on the left frame and a police acceptance eagle/swastica with the letter 'L' on the right frame. In addition, the barrel lug will also have an eagle/N proof.

Does not look like yours has had that done to it.

Still, they are a rather unique and collectible pistol.

Looks like you picked some nice stuff.


Jim K
May 9, 2011, 09:32 PM
If you want to fire a Steyr 1911 or 1912, it is a lot easier if you find some clips for it. They used to be pretty common as they were made through WWII, but I haven't seen any lately.


May 9, 2011, 10:36 PM
I had a Luger that came from China via a vet who took it from a surrenderd pile of Japanese equipment at an airfeild at the end of the war.
Old Mr. Ruben was a aircraft mechanic in the China Burma India theater. Seems it was a Japanese officers personal purchase. It also had a double struck Erfurt crown, kinda cool.
The bringback papers and the holster rounded it out as quite the collectable , but trading for an Evinrude E-tec 115 outboard was irresistable.......

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