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Rifleman Q&A: Erfurt Royal Arsenal Luger

Rifleman Q&A: Erfurt Royal Arsenal Luger

Image shown is an example of a German Erfurt Royal Arsenal Luger circa 1913, courtesy iCollector.com.

Q:
I have questions about the history, current value, collectability and other aspects of a German Luger in my possession. I cannot seem to find any markings or stamps that indicate the model designation or maker. There is a crown marking, and under that mark is stamped “ERFURT” with the numerals “03”. The serial number is only four digits, and is stamped on the left side of the frame. Additionally, the “03” stamping appears on other parts of the gun. I cannot make out a series of stamps just aft of the barrel. Otherwise, it appears to be in excellent condition.

A: Between 1910 and 1918, Luger pistols were made at the Royal Arsenal in Erfurt. Two variations were made: the standard military model with a 4" barrel and the Artillery model with an 8" barrel. On most Luger pistols the year of manufacture is stamped on the frame over the chamber. Without better information we cannot identify specific markings, but those are either proof or inspector marks. The last two digits of the serial number—on yours probably “03”—are stamped on many of the parts. Due to the relatively short production life, Erfurt-built pistols are desirable to collectors, but you will need a qualified appraiser who can examine the gun to give you a value.

—Charles E. Petty

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