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Unread 03-17-2019, 10:55 PM   #1
Jasta2
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Default 1916 Death Head

Just wondering about this 1916 "Death's Head". I went back and searched the forum for info and found some info. Also recent replies in Jan C. Still forum. So I take about 95% are fakes. Just how would one tell if one is original? Seems like there is no true way to. No, I'm not looking to buy it. But find it interesting. A question on the frame's s/n I take it's correct, but the stamped in rather crude. That again might be normal for a 1916 Luger. As you see, I've got a lot to learn!https://www.gunbroker.com/item/802167630
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Unread 03-17-2019, 11:14 PM   #2
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Simpson's has a rather long description of a 1915 Erfurt "Death's Head" they sold. It describes most being Erfurt's. The one I linked to is a DWM. Even within Simpson's long story, it looks as it hedges their description by stating "There are no written German directives regarding the Death Head and what we know is by observation". What was it they observed to sell it as a real Death Head? Wish I knew what they sold it for. This post not intended to show any disfavor on the part of Simpson's Lugers. If it's perceived to do so, I request the moderator to delete it.
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Unread 03-18-2019, 07:46 AM   #3
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Not much to see from the pictures on that GB auction, pretty poor and none of the other markings are shown. What I can see of that particular DH mark is that it is kind of pitiful and lacking detail- but so are the pictures.

I think you "nailed" the Death's Head with your 95% fake estimate. We just don't know, but do "argue or at least discuss" a lot.

I bought one at SOS two or three years ago, just to have one- knowing it was likely fake- so I "only" paid a little more than shooter price. I kind of wanted it to go with my other two "fakes" a
Simson with "1925" date added, and my "Spandau" luger; I'm still looking for a Danzig luger.

I have looked at a few DH lugers in person, and still would or could not say if they were fake or not.

Like Simpson's write up, many of the DH lugers I have seen were Erfurt pistols, and were 1917 or 1918 dated. Past that, there are those with only original inspection/proof markings and those with additional commercial proofs that date to Suhl in the 1920 era.

I find it interesting think about the "if and when" of a DH if it were ever a legit pistol or not.

I have collected some DH pictures, and I wrote a thread on mine- but it may be on the other luger forum.

Here are some of the DH pictures.

The last picture is of my DH, which is a 1915 Dated DWM luger; which also has the commercial 1920s era additional proofing from Suhl.
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Looking for DWM side plate: 69 ; Dreyse 1907 pistol K.S. Gendarmerie
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Unread 03-18-2019, 08:16 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by DonVoigt View Post
I kind of wanted it to go with my other two "fakes" a
Simson with "1925" date added, and my "Spandau" luger; I'm still looking for a Danzig luger.
Don't forget the crossed-rifles Russian Contract Lugers.
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Unread 03-18-2019, 09:10 AM   #5
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Don, I noticed quite a difference in the details of each Deaths Head. The 1916 has far more detail than that of the 1917. In looking at each of the 3 Death Heads faces and their detail differences, mouth/teeth, eye and nose shapes and "S", I believe they were all from different stamps. I would think most original Death Heads would be made from one original stamp. Would be interesting to compare what is considered to be a "True" Death's Head stamping to the rest.
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Unread 03-18-2019, 09:53 AM   #6
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Would be interesting to compare what is considered to be a "True" Death's Head stamping to the rest.
I believe Fred Datig has the earliest picture of the Totenkopf marking in his book "The Luger Pistol". It dates to 1955.
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Unread 03-18-2019, 10:35 AM   #7
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It was that photo in Datig that convinced me to buy this example from a plumber in New Jersey in 1970. It is identical to Datig's photo, so real or not who knows? (I think it is )
Ron

P.S. It is a DWM
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Unread 03-18-2019, 11:06 AM   #8
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Ron, Looking closely at your photo's details, along with Don's three, I feel they are all 4 from different stamps. Most notable, the shape of the ears, among other details. I think yours has the best/clearest stamping. The Photo of the DH in Lugers at Random sadly is to poor to see the DH detail.
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Unread 03-18-2019, 11:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jasta2 View Post
Ron, Looking closely at your photo's details, along with Don's three, I feel they are all 4 from different stamps.
It's a popular belief that the 'deaths-head' is a Freikorps marking. There may be different 'stamps', as there were different Freikorps geographical groups.

Lots of differing opinions on this topic.
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Unread 03-18-2019, 12:22 PM   #10
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Sheepherder is correct; there are several different DH stamps.
One or more may be "real" or original to the Freikorp time; and some are likely not.

I like Ron's DH, and mine.
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