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Old August 16, 2011, 01:31 PM   #1
k Squared
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1920 Luger Serial Number S.P.B.n

A friend has offered to sell me a 1920 DWM Luger (9mm) with a serial number prefix of S.P.B.n.

Can anyone tell me the significance of this prefix?

There are also 3 stamps that appear to be eagles on the left side of the chamber. Any information on these marking would also be appreciated.

Thanks
K Squared
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Old August 16, 2011, 03:36 PM   #2
James K
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That marking is not the serial number; the full serial number is on the front of the grip piece, just below the barrel, and should be something like 1234 over a script letter. Other parts should be numbered 1234 or 34.

The marking you mention is likely on the front grip strap and is a police marking. A good picture of it might help identify the police organization to which the gun belonged, but not all those markings are known.

Jim
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Old August 16, 2011, 04:03 PM   #3
Winchester_73
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Quote:
There are also 3 stamps that appear to be eagles on the left side of the chamber. Any information on these marking would also be appreciated.
Those are acceptance / inspection marks.

As James said, the marking you describe has nothing to do with the SN and the official SN is where he stated.

More important than the ID of the marking is how original the gun is. Very very few lugers are still valuable mismatched (when compared to matching). Buy the gun, not the story (and usually not the history).

A TFL member by the name of "Jim Keenan" should be around to post more info. He seems to know lugers, and many other guns quite well.
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Old August 16, 2011, 04:39 PM   #4
James K
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Thanks for the kind words, Winchester 73. James K is the person you mentioned; I asked to have my screen name changed.

The 1920 Lugers are interesting. While some Lugers really were made in 1920 and have that as the only date, most are double dated. After WWI, the new German government was desperately trying to control gun ownership for the usual reasons - distrust in government was high and the government was scared blipless of all those ex-soldiers, many of whom just took their guns home when many units of the German army just dissolved.

So they passed an amnesty law allowing people to turn in military weapons for a reward; those guns were to be marked with the date of the law, 1920, to show that they were again government property and to prevent them from being stolen and turned in again. For Lugers, that meant the 1920 "date" was stamped on the gun in addition to the original date of manufacture; collectors call those guns "double date" Lugers.

Then the Germans, desperate for hard currency, and having a major asset in Lugers, began to scrub wartime pistols and make new ones for export. Since the Versailles treaty banned production of 9mm pistols, those guns are in 7.65 Parabellum, the original Luger caliber. (We call it the ".30 Luger.") While those guns don't have any date on them, they are often also called "1920 Lugers". Generally, they don't bring as high a price as untouched German military pistols.

Jim
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Old August 16, 2011, 11:49 PM   #5
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Thanks for the kind words, Winchester 73. James K is the person you mentioned; I asked to have my screen name changed.
How about that! And all this time, I noticed "Jim Keenan" hadn't been posting and some ignorant blow hard "James K" seemed to come out of nowhere posting non sensical rambling messages and here you 2 are one in the same. Wow.

haha jk

Thanks for the history on the double date lugers. I had the chance at a gunshow to buy one for about $1k with a holster, but I never called the guy because I forgot and it probably got away from me. Oh well, now at least I know what the double date is all about.
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