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I recently picked up a 1918 Erfurt Luger and noticed 2 uniform, seemingly intentional notches carved on the edge of one wood grip. At first I thought nothing of it and figured the original owner must’ve dinged it on a sharp edge but upon closer inspection, the cuts are almost identical and look to have been carved by a knife. Like many other people, I immediately thought they may be “kill marks,” so I researched the topic. Many people seem to be doubtful of this theory on other forum posts saying that soldiers of certain countries, including the US, would get in trouble when turning their weapon back in after their service if it had been defaced. However, seeing this is a German pistol most likely issued to an officer as a sidearm, I figured these rules and ethics may not apply (I could be completely wrong.) I had the gun appraised by legacy collectibles, and they agreed that the carvings are intentional and done back during its time in service due to no color difference with the rest of the grip.

Some more additional things I learned about this piece that may help give an idea of what these could be: Almost everything is original and all of the numbers match except the takedown plate and takedown pin which are from ww2. The magazine is also original to the gun with a matching serial number and so are the grips. As said before, none of it has been refinished. (Please let me know if anyone disagrees with these claims based on the provided pictures.) Regarding its origin, I got it from a guy who had been keeping it in storage and hadn’t shot it in 35 years. I’m not sure where he acquired it, but said he got it from a buddy who was in the navy during WW2 (it was not retrieved during WW2 though.)

If anyone could provide me more history about this weapon based on this information and the engravings seen on it, I would be very grateful! I’d love to know as much about this gun’s potential past as possible and what people think it’s estimated value would be. Also, if anyone has guesses as to what these notches could signify I am very curious.

Thank you so much for reading my post!
-Adam
 

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Jarman45

I know one like yours in great condition as yours is, recently sold for $2500 and those with the longer barrel are brining up to $3500.
I would estimate the actual value is from $2500 - $3000 on your pistol, They are true collector pieces!
That is one fine pistol! :)

If you have not, please go to our Introduction Section. Hope you stay with us on the FTF!

Thanks for the pictures! I love nostalgic fine made weapons! My father in law had an Artillery Model with the Stock Attachment. Another fine pieces with History.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jarman45

I know one like yours in great condition as yours is, recently sold for $2500 and those with the longer barrel are brining up to $3500.
I would estimate the actual value is from $2500 - $3000 on your pistol, They are true collector pieces!
That is one fine pistol! :)

If you have not, please go to our Introduction Section. Hope you stay with us on the FTF!

Thanks for the pictures! I love nostalgic fine made weapons! My father in law had an Artillery Model with the Stock Attachment. Another fine pieces with History.


03
Amazing! I am relatively new to the older gun collecting hobby and picked this one up for $1100 so must’ve gotten it on a steal! I’ll be sure to check out the Intro section as I imagine I’ll have future questions about new pickups. Lugers have got to be my favorite sidearm of all time so I’m keeping it forever. Thanks for the info it is much appreciated (y)
 

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Jarman45

I have my prized possession as well. It is a Walthers P-38 with Swastikas' on it with it's original Holster also with Swastikas. Both In excellent condition and I know of it's History. It was taken off a German Officer by a Russian Soldier after the Russian Soldier killed the German Soldier when he first arrived on the Russian Front. It has a fantastic History story that I was blessed to know about from the man who I got it from. It was presented to him as a gift by the Russian family he stayed with for years while working for IMB in Russia. It was presented to him by the Daughter at his going away Banquet before coming back stateside!
In the past several years I have shot a few rounds over the past years just for nostalgia purposes!
I sure like your Lugar! Very Nice. I do not blame you for keeping it forever! Mine will be passed on to one of the family that I know will keep it and someday pass it on! You might assure it's "security" and also maybe insure it?
Be sure to take some good pictures of it like the last picture you took. When I do I put all the information on a 3X5 Card and photograph it in one of the Pictures. I do that with all my guns like the example below. The Serial Number being in the 300s is on the back of the card.
9222Walther Pistol.JPG

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jarman45

I have my prized possession as well. It is a Walthers P-38 with Swastikas' on it with it's original Holster also with Swastikas. Both In excellent condition and I know of it's History. It was taken off a German Officer by a Russian Soldier after the Russian Soldier killed the German Soldier when he first arrived on the Russian Front. It has a fantastic History story that I was blessed to know about from the man who I got it from. It was presented to him as a gift by the Russian family he stayed with for years while working for IMB in Russia. It was presented to him by the Daughter at his going away Banquet before coming back stateside!
In the past several years I have shot a few rounds over the past years just for nostalgia purposes!
I sure like your Lugar! Very Nice. I do not blame you for keeping it forever! Mine will be passed on to one of the family that I know will keep it and someday pass it on! You might assure it's "security" and also maybe insure it?
Be sure to take some good pictures of it like the last picture you took. When I do I put all the information on a 3X5 Card and photograph it in one of the Pictures. I do that with all my guns like the example below. The Serial Number being in the 300s is on the back of the card.
View attachment 241564
03
Sheeeesh that is a nice p38 and very rare to possess the exact history behind a relic like that! I have looked at those as well and definitely would like to acquire a nazi marked one at some point.

Also thank you for the tip regarding insurance I will definitely look into that! As for security, I have it stored in my hidden biometric pistol safe cabled to a metal shelf so I’d hope it’s safe (unless a burglar happens to bring his spare bolt cutters when deciding to hit my place :LOL:)
 

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Most combat troops would not notch their kills on their guns for fear of what would happen to them if captured. Of course part of the beauty of historic artifacts is you just never know and your imagination is free to roam.
 
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Jarman45

I know one like yours in great condition as yours is, recently sold for $2500 and those with the longer barrel are brining up to $3500.
I would estimate the actual value is from $2500 - $3000 on your pistol, They are true collector pieces!
I think you are far too high on value due to it not being a matching piece and let's face it the takedown plate is one of the most obvious pieces on a Luger. $1500 would be an optimistic estimate.

Still a pistol people dream of owning. Mine is shot strictly on special occasions.
 

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On the price, check the internals, and make sure it is really numbers matching. Even a firing pin was a serialized part, in many of the German handguns. My P38 has a mismatched firing pin, and is worth less, as a result, Didn't bother me at all, but to a collector, it matters.

On the notches, chances are it wasn't a German soldier, but if a GI picked it up, carried it as a backup, no reason or repercussions for him doing it, that I know of. Could be the case, as it would be personal property, at that point.

Personally, I find that to be a sickening practice, but to each their own.

Other option is, like one of my relatives, a lawman in the west, used to do after becoming a sports writer in NYC, would do when he needed drinking money, or a little extra to cover the rent, he would pick up a pawn shop cheapie, that was of the right age, make, and model to have been carried, cut a couple notches in it, and then sell it as "One that I used in Dodge City."

Still have Uncle Bat's last S&W model 3, passed down over the years, with a picture of him sitting with my grandfather in his lap, in northeast PA, in 1918, as well as a long expired NYC carry license, and what's left of the bill of sale.

He passed on in 1920, and apparently didn't need the extra cash, before that.
 

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Sheepdawg
Is correct ! If the numbers do not match that cuts the cost value significantly. But does not mean it is not a very nice piece to own. The Quality and Nostalgia of the older guns has always interested me.

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What is the going rate on a nice WWII P.38 these days? Matching with 90% original finish - bring back (no import marks).

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Most combat troops would not notch their kills on their guns for fear of what would happen to them if captured. Of course part of the beauty of historic artifacts is you just never know and your imagination is free to roam.
Makes sense but there have always been stupid people with guns. They have always made it hard on intelligent people with guns.
 

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the "notches" in the grip panels of the Luger in this thread mean only the further degradation in value of this pistol (along with non-matching s/ns of some of the parts)
 

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Personally, I find that to be a sickening practice, but to each their own.*

War is sickening to expound a little. The Russians raped, pillaged, and plundered horrifically throughout Germany. What the Germans didn't know is that the allies were guilty of the "crimes of war" too and not in a small way.

Allied soldiers were young, pissed off men away from home with no different feelings toward Germans and the crimes they committed than Russian feelings about it. Their activities were not publicized nearly as much by a long shot, because there were fewer total numbers of Allies pillaging through Berlin, the "good people" won, and Marshall was just too tired to give a damned about it at that point in the war and was focused on other things so says deeper dives into history. There were a lot of sickening practices but such is war.

Concerning the OP, watch or look up some of the results of gun auctions. There is a lot to be learned from them. What is popular isn't necessarily correlated to value.
 

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Personally, I find that to be a sickening practice, but to each their own.*

War is sickening to expound a little. The Russians raped, pillaged, and plundered horrifically throughout Germany. What the Germans didn't know is that the allies were guilty of the "crimes of war" too and not in a small way.

Allied soldiers were young, pissed off men away from home with no different feelings toward Germans and the crimes they committed than Russian feelings about it. Their activities were not publicized nearly as much by a long shot, because there were fewer total numbers of Allies pillaging through Berlin, the "good people" won, and Marshall was just too tired to give a damned about it at that point in the war and was focused on other things so says deeper dives into history. There were a lot of sickening practices but such is war.

Concerning the OP, watch or look up some of the results of gun auctions. There is a lot to be learned from them. What is popular isn't necessarily correlated to value.
The Soviet troops behaved very badly when the occupied Germany, there is no doubt about it. After what the Soviets experienced when the Germans invaded their homeland it was pretty predictable, what would happen when the Soviets came to town. There wasn't a damn thing the Americans could do about it either. If the Americans had experienced what the Russians did our troops would have been capable of the same horrible behavior. Of course, the flip side of that coin is the the Americans and the British had been making war on German civilians long before the Ruskies came to town. We just did it from 8000 feet up, so it wasn't as personal, unless you were on the ground. War is an evil process, nobody comes out of it clean.
 
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prices are all over the place but you can get an idea by checking out this site :

Legacy doesn't have the greatest reputation among collectors. I think a better estimate would come from Gunbroker.

Simpson's Ltd has a better reputation but I would deduct 15-25% from their retail prices.
 

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actually Legacy does have a good reputation amongst collectors - I've purchased 2 Luger pistols from them - a 1912 build P06 and a 1938 build P08 - a lot of their offerings are "on consignment" from private parties and the selling/buying prices aren't set in stone

Gunbroker would be the last place I'd go to for purchasing a quality Luger and tho Simpson's has a huge inventory, which makes them an interesting place to let the eyes wander, I wouldn't buy from any of the commercial sellers except Legacy

of course - this is a personal opinion
 

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actually Legacy does have a good reputation amongst collectors - I've purchased 2 Luger pistols from them - a 1912 build P06 and a 1938 build P08 - a lot of their offerings are "on consignment" from private parties and the selling/buying prices aren't set in stone

Gunbroker would be the last place I'd go to for purchasing a quality Luger and tho Simpson's has a huge inventory, which makes them an interesting place to let the eyes wander, I wouldn't buy from any of the commercial sellers except Legacy

of course - this is a personal opinion
I use Gunbroker as a place to estimate values. I buy off of Gunbroker only when dealing with firearms I'm knowledgeable of. Actually I've gotten some dynamite deals off GB. but you have to know how to play the game.

Might want to head over to the K98k Forum and type Legacy into the search function. Get a cup of coffee, make yourself comfortable and hold on. You'll notice quite a few mentions in their "Turd Alert" threads.

Legacy is a running joke with those guys.

Legacy's Swedish m/40 anti tank rifle story is a great one to start with. They sold it to a competitor, Pre 98, as a run of the mill K98k for $2000+. Pre 98 got $24K for it. Legacy didn't know they had a very rare and desirable m40 Swedish anti tank rifle chambered in 8X63.
 

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The Soviet troops behaved very badly when the occupied Germany, there is no doubt about it. After what the Soviets experienced when the Germans invaded their homeland it was pretty predictable, what would happen when the Soviets came to town. There wasn't a damn thing the Americans could do about it either. If the Americans had experienced what the Russians did our troops would have been capable of the same horrible behavior. Of course, the flip side of that coin is the the Americans and the British had been making war on German civilians long before the Ruskies came to town. We just did it from 8000 feet up, so it wasn't as personal, unless you were on the ground. War is an evil process, nobody comes out of it clean.
As I stated, the Allies did, in fact "behave horribly" but on a smaller scale partly because there were more Russians. By a long shot, not all of the killing was from 30,000 ft. up and those people in the bombers had a miserable fatality rate. It doesn't take much to get fed up with people that try to kill you. Some of the payback is indeed hell. Zhukov was a known ruthless, aggressive leader which is partly why the Russians ultimately slaughtered the Germans. Allied soldiers were like any other soldier in war. When some get pissed off, they become good at "bad behavior". It happens in all wars. A lot of KIA enemies were not KIA's when captured.
 
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