View Full Version : luger: refinished or not?

June 24, 2009, 02:16 PM
A local guy has a luger a P38 and some arisaka rifles. He emailed me some pics and well when someone says $525 for a luger, I smell a rat. He also only wants $350 for a P38 which looks to be good to me. He only enclosed 1 pic of each. Thoughts and opinions? I think the luger is either refinished or mismatched.

trigger happy
June 24, 2009, 02:19 PM
I've always wanted a Luger and never bought one......yet, although I did have an Erma .380 but that isn't really close enough

June 24, 2009, 02:21 PM
I own a Luger which has been back through the factory and is like new. I can't calculate its value, but it is a lot more that $350.

I would look at them and it they shoot, that's a good deal. Matching number or not. That's a good price even if all they're good for is plinking.

June 24, 2009, 02:21 PM
Do you think its re finished? I think it looks suspect.

trigger happy
June 24, 2009, 02:25 PM
suspect how? who made it?

Jim Watson
June 24, 2009, 02:49 PM
The Luger looks kind of odd, why would you refinish everything but the sideplate? I think maybe a nice condition gun with a replacement sideplate off a junker. But we don't know anything else about the gun and the picture is not all that good. Picture of the P38 is worse, I can't tell a thing besides the model of the gun.

I own a Luger which has been back through the factory and is like new.

How DID you arrange that?

June 24, 2009, 02:53 PM
First of all, it's nearly impossible to render any kind of verdict without more and better photos. Most experts (I am not one) are very cautious and will be reluctant to voice any opinion unless and until they can be sure of what they are talking about. And it's tough to be sure of much with only the picture you've provided.

However - there are some basic things you can do, and information you can furnish, to get off to a start of sorts:

1) BIGGIE - do all numbers match? I gather from your post that you have not disassembled the gun to find out. If you have access to it, and if the owner is amenable, find out how to disassemble the gun (not hard - there is lots of information on lugers around), then carefully take it apart and make sure all numbers match.

2) What, if anything, is marked on top of the barrel's chamber?

3) What, if any, markings are on the top of the toggle?

One thing that is immediately obvious is that the condition of the sideplate appears far different from the rest of the pistol (and I don't see a number on it - is there one?). This, even to a non-luger guy like myself, screams that it is not original to the rest of the gun (or was not treated the same as the rest of the gun if the gun was re-blued), and if so, that alone makes value drop precipitously.

Your best bet is to 1) get more and better photos and then 2) take the photos and show them to the experts at Jan C. Still's luger board, in the "New Collectors" forum. The guys over there are very experienced and knowledgeable. You will not go wrong listening to them. Here's the link to the forum:


June 24, 2009, 02:57 PM
How DID you arrange that?

Timewarp :)

WildletsdothetimewarpagainAlaska ™

Jim Watson
June 24, 2009, 03:00 PM
Sherman, start up der Vayback Machinen

June 24, 2009, 03:08 PM
Ja, Die Zeitmaschine .
The Stoeger 22s go for almost that much.

June 24, 2009, 05:10 PM
The Luger looks over polished and reblued except the replacement sideplate. The P 38 picture is dark but kind of looks like a captured Russian dipped import wartime P38. The dipped Russian P38's often have a big X on the left side of the frame. If the bore is good and parts match it would still be worth $350. It looks like a wartime P38 as I can make out the proof mark and german acceptance stamps on the slide.

James K
June 24, 2009, 07:43 PM
Both guns have been reblued, and the Luger heavily polished to boot. The sideplate is not properly in place, and doesn't even look like it is finished. It looks like one of the repros ("may require fitting" - yeah) that were being sold a while back.

Worth the price? To someone who wants a Luger badly enough and is short on cash? Maybe, but a buyer needs to recognize that a gun like that will not increase in value even after the sideplate is fitted. A shooter (if it can be gotten to work) or a display collection hole filler, but not an investment.


June 24, 2009, 08:14 PM
Both guns have been reblued

The p38 I thought may not be redone. It looks somewhat original and has wear. What clues you in that it may be or in fact was redone? If the P38 is numbers matching but redone is $350 a good price? Thanks

June 24, 2009, 09:16 PM
There were three different manufacters of P38's during WWII. The markings on the left side of the frame and slide will tell you who made it and in what year. It is not a good picture so it is hard to tell if it was hot blue refinished or a old Russian dipped reblue postwar import.

44 AMP
June 24, 2009, 10:43 PM
original condition, and redone.

original condition Lugers and P-38s bring the most money. The better the condition, the more the money. All Lugers are collectable, but only original condtion guns bring premium prices. Guns without matching numbers, but original finish come next, and refinished guns last.

Its the same with P-38s, but collector interest isn't as great, and prices are much lower. A couple years ago, a WWII P-38 in good shape, import marked sold for $350. Today its around $500. The Luger in the picture is in better shape and at a lower price than some Lugers I have seen in the last couple years

If you want a Luger because you want a Luger, buy it today! It isn't ever going to be cheaper. If you want a Luger because it will go up hugely in value as he years go by, get a different Luger.

WWII bringback guns (not import marked) bring better prices than imported guns of equal condition. I gave $775 for a 1936 Luger this spring, beautifully refinished, mismatched numbers. In original condition with matching numbers, the gun would have brought 3 or maybe 4 times that.

Having wanted a Luger for many years, and not caring about the collector value, (I wanted one to shoot!) I am quite happy with mine. I have seen an all original gun with only about 10% of the blueing left on it priced at $800!, and it sold!

June 25, 2009, 07:33 AM
My $0.02: ANY complete Parabellum pistol (Luger) in well worth $525 in today's market - especially when a 98% gennie would be worth over $2500.

So, unless one is a particular collector, with a slot in their collection that needs filling, I would consider it G-O-N-E.


June 25, 2009, 08:53 AM
Decisions, Decisions. So this guy got back to me: the P38 is a BYF 43 and the frame and receiver match. If the barrel matches then I'll be in good shape. Also, there does not appear to be a X on the left side, so then hopefully it was not dipped by the Russians. It also bears no import stamps. In the pic the serial number appears faint on the receiver. Were some of them like that? Eventhough its faint, everything else is crisp. The F on the safety is still red which is good, correct? I do realize that the barrels were often switched out but it could be all matching. I will attach pics when I get home. Also I got more pics of the luger, its a DWM and I'm not sure if its numbers matching or not so I will have to look these over in person to verify. He admitted that the luger was refinished. I really don't want to be stuck with the luger for $525. If its mismatched and we already know its reblued, I don't see it bringing $525 on the open market. Am I wrong to think this way?

June 25, 2009, 09:06 AM
The GI who brought this back, and he died this year, had this all matching 1940 Walther produced P-38 nickled. It was just something they did.

I cannot imagine what it would have been worth with 95% finish. Shoots good.

P.S. He said "that German did not need it anymore".


June 25, 2009, 09:37 AM

So is it a 480 code? The pic didn't work for me. I'm using my work PC.

James K
June 25, 2009, 08:44 PM
I think the first P.38 was reblued because the frame area shown is simply not that black/blue in the original guns. It does not look to have been polished, and I may change my mind if I see better pictures.

It should be worth $350, though, even if reblued. The Luger is another story.


June 25, 2009, 08:53 PM
I bought this Walther AC45 made very late in the war Feb 1945 from a Normandy invasion vet before he died in his 90's. He never shot it all the years he had it stored in a wool sock but I am making up for him now shooting the heck out of it.

The byf on the one you are looking at is the code for Mauser, 143,300 made in 1943 and g code was made in July.


June 25, 2009, 09:31 PM

Why is the SN on the slide so faint? Opinions?

June 25, 2009, 10:08 PM
Polish and reblue of course

Now I want you guys to give me credit for not giving a smarmy answer suchlike:

Markings on P38 slides notoriously fade in direct sunlight, use unscreen while shooting:D

WildimustbemellowingAlaska TM

June 26, 2009, 03:34 AM
No no no.

When GIs bring them back over here, the markings choke on all the American freedom in the air :D

(Disclaimer: "American freedom" and all related terms superseded by "international fairness and equality" as of 2009. Some are more equal than others, purchase mandatory, all rights revoked.)

June 26, 2009, 05:10 AM
So if the P38 was polished and reblued, I have a few questions:

why are the other markings so crisp?

Why is the safety still red? Shouldn't it have went blue?

Is it worth $350 if its numbers matching?

June 26, 2009, 10:09 AM
why are the other markings so crisp?

The guys boss woke him up on the polishing wheel before he buffed out all the other marks

Why is the safety still red? Shouldn't it have went blue?


Is it worth $350 if its numbers matching?

Not to me

WilditscoldupherethismorningAlaska TM

June 26, 2009, 10:19 AM
I wasn't sure either if it was reblued. The 2nd pic shows some pitting so I guess the question was on the dumb side of things. Its a shame that people restore those guns

44 AMP
June 27, 2009, 03:05 PM
Lots of people think so today, but remember that for most of the past half century, the guns were fairly common, often fairly cheap, and not particularly highly thought of!

If done well, a restored gun is a joy to the eye, but not to the wallet. Collectors want original condition, with all the dings, scrapes, and pits it has accumulated over the years. And they pay for it. Guns that have survived in good condition bring tremendous prices.

Ever wonder why that is? Strange that people think restoring a classic/antique car is wonderful, and they sell for a lot more than one that isn't, but a gun? Nope!

This attitude just didn't exist (outside of a handful of collectors) as little as a few decades ago. And because it didn't, that's the reason we have "collectible" pieces today!

These guns, even if reblued, are tangible connections with an era of history that will never come again. I like 'em, and get as many as I can afford. I decided some time ago, that being able to afford a refinished gun of a particular type was better than not having an original condition one (that cost more than I could pay)!

June 28, 2009, 07:42 AM
Yep, worth the asking price as shooters. Both look refinnished but are priced as such.. Be sure to replace the recoil springs on the P 38. Check both bore. On the p38 the locking block numbers should match too.