1908 Bulgarian Contract  PENDING

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This is a completely matching, 1908 Model (Dated by the Contract), DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken) WWI Luger with two matching magazines.  This is chambered for 9mm and has a standard 4" barrel fixed sights and walnut grips.   This Luger was manufactured for the Bulgarian army which was becoming organized after declaring its independence from the Ottoman Empire on September 22, 1908. A very unique specimen in good condition with a lot of history in a 105 year old gun. (1842)

NOTE: Photographs taken today with the high mega-pixel camera show more than we sometimes can see with the human eye. Magnified close-ups show us tool marks and natural surface conditions that one normally doesn't see in the ordinary handling of the weapon.  Photographs are copyrighted, all rights reserved, any extraction, reproduction or display of gun pictures without the express consent of the Phoenix Investment Arms is strictly prohibited. Thank you for your cooperation. Please visit Legal (tabbed) for Conditions of Sale.

 

The Kingdom of Bulgaria participated in World War I on the side of the Central Powers from 15 October 1915, when the country declared war on Serbia, until 30 September 1918, when the Armistice of Thessalonica was signed and came into effect.

When the First World War erupted in August 1914 Bulgaria was still recovering from the negative economic and demographic impact of the recent wars and avoided direct involvement in the new conflict by declaring neutrality.[1] The strategic geographic location and strong military made the country a desired ally by both warring sides but Bulgarian aspirations were difficult to satisfy because they included territorial claims against four Balkan countries. As the war progressed the Central Powers found themselves in a better position to fulfill Bulgarian demands and persuaded the country to join their cause in September 1915.

Despite being the smallest member of the alliance in area and population Bulgaria made vital contributions to the common war effort. Its entry to the war was the death knell to Serbia and Romania, and ensured the continuous Ottoman war effort by opening the way for much needed German material assistance.

 

The barrel length is 4" (100mm) and is chambered for 9mm. The serial number appears on the front of the frame, with the side plate and locking lever was numbered in the "commercial manner". This Luger is all matching including the magazine's.  This Luger does not have a stock lug and includes a hold-open.

The extractor is marked "пьлень" on the left side and the safety is marked  "ОГЪНЪ" for safe which appears on the Russian model." with the safe position being upward.

This example has all matching numbers. The barrel is numbered and proofed and matches the frame. The first toggle link is marked with the Bulgarian monogram, and there is the "V" rear sight on the last toggle link.

There were two orders of the M1911 (Bulgarian designation) of 5,000 Parabellums.  The second delivery in 1912 were marked with the "C" Suffix for no known reason except to separate the orders as the numbering started at 1-5000 the second time.  The lanyard loop on the bottom is the only variation of the Luger that has this characteristic.

This unusual variation of the Bulgarian Holster has the large belt loop. the front flap is sewn to cover the extra magazine and the rear is cut open to enable attachment of the lanyard suggesting it was a Calvary officer's model and perhaps a special order holster as there are no proof marks at all on the holster. Most of these holsters were a local purchase but were similar by design.

 

When Bulgaria proclaimed its independence from the Ottoman Empire on 22 September 1908, its status was promoted to that of a kingdom and Knyaz Ferdinand I assumed the title of tsar. The country was now able to focus on completing its national unification by turning its attention towards the lands populated by Bulgarians that remained under Ottoman control.  

 

The opening stages of the First Balkan War began with decisive Allied victories in both Thrace and Macedonia. Within a month the Ottomans found themselves driven back by the Bulgarians to within 40 kilometers from Constantinople and badly beaten by the Serbians and the Greeks.  A relatively short armistice brought no conclusion to the conflict and fighting once again broke out in January 1913. A major Ottoman counter offensive was defeated by the Bulgarians, who also seized the fortress of Adrianople in March and finally forced the Ottoman Empire to admit defeat and return to the peace table. While the Bulgarian Army was still fighting a new challenge arose from the north - Romania demanded territorial compensations from Bulgaria for its neutrality during the war. A conference, which was held in Sankt Petersburg, sought to resolve the dispute by rewarding Romania the Bulgarian town of Silistra but this decision greatly antagonized both countries and sowed the seed of further enmity between them. The formal ending of the war was marked by the signing of the London Peace Treaty which bestowed to the allies all Ottoman territory to the west of the Midia-Enos line with the exception of Albania.

 

The Rampant Lion that appears on the 1st toggle represents the only variation where the Parabellums maker's mark does not appear. However a 10,000 Luger order makes room for variations.  The DWM Scroll as it appears above the chamber, again only on the 1908 Bulgarian.

Above Left: The two magazines are in good condition, both with blank bottoms. Above Right: The serial number is visible under the barrel and the last two digits are on the bottom of the locking lever and side plate.

The evolution of the Bulgarian Holster began with the (Lower Right) full flapped for the 1903/1906 that contained a cleaning rod slot and a separate pocket over the extra magazine.  The standard 1908 holster [Lower Right] had a standard flap that had the flap that buttoned over the extra magazine pouch.  The Offered Holster is a variation apparently made for a Calvary Officer with the rear of the Parabellum exposed for the lanyard and cut for a more convenient draw.  The top is sewn to cover the extra magazine. See Bender: "Luger Holsters and Accessories of the 20th Century"                                                                                            

The extractor is marked "ЛЪДЕВНЪ" the Bulgarian word for loaded. The Bulgarians referred to the 1908 model as Model 1911 as was given the P.08 Imperial German Army Luger adapted by the Bulgarian military in 1911. The Bulgarian contract was awarded in 1911 for 10,000 P.08 style Bulgarian Lugers, with slight modifications requested by the Bulgarian military. the 1st Group were numbered 1-5000 while the 2nd group had a Latin "C" suffix.

 

In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars, Bulgarian opinion turned against Russia and the western powers, whom the Bulgarians felt had done nothing to help them. The government of Vasil Radoslavov aligned Bulgaria with Germany and Austria-Hungary, even though this meant also becoming an ally of the Ottomans, Bulgaria's traditional enemy. But Bulgaria now had no claims against the Ottomans, whereas Serbia, Greece and Romania (allies of the UK and France) were all in possession of lands perceived in Bulgaria as Bulgarian. Bulgaria, recuperating from the Balkan Wars, sat out the first year of World War I, but when Germany promised to restore the boundaries of the Treaty of San Stefano, Bulgaria, which had the largest army in the Balkans, declared war on Serbia in October 1915. The UK, France, Italy and Russia then declared war on Bulgaria.

 

The inside of the gun is clean and well cared for.  The exterior shows honest wear on the muzzle, barrel and high points on the sides. The barrel is shiny and shows distinct lands and grooves. The Luger has all matching numbers including the magazine. The magazine is silver sleeved and with a wood based and are in good condition.

Left: This shows the Luger in full recoil and the application of the Russian/Bulgarian Cyrillic letters ОГЪНЪ  on the  thumb safety where the appears in the old configuration where Safe is down. During WWII the Bulgarian Lugers were modified with the barrels changed out to 9mm for all models and the thumb safety modified to the down position (Up to Fire).  This has all the original characteristics.

The right side bears only the Rampant Lion of the Bulgarian acceptance.

A Front and rear view of the Bulgarian M1911 original variation

The unusual characteristics of the lanyard loop at the bottom of the rear frame and the safety in the pre-1904 up position with the Russian/Bulgarian Cyrillic lettering.

There are minimal proofs on the '08 Bulgarian with the Rampant Lion on the left side and the hidden serial numbers on the left. Usually Bulgarians are found in a strongly worn condition having been put through two wars of service and not treated well during their service.  This variation gives us a chance at a pre-modified original Bulgarian, the pride of most collectors due to its unique and distinctive design.

The 1908 Bulgarian is the only Parabellum with the DWM scrolled logo over the chamber and the Country Crest on he 1st toggle link. Apparently there was no tradition that stood in the way of making a sale. In September 1915, when Bulgaria entered the war, Bulgaria's war stack included 3957 Parabellums of a contract for 10,000 Parabellums in two lots.

 

On 6 September 1915, Bulgaria formalized its affiliation with the Central Powers by concluding three separate documents of political and military character. The first document was signed by the prime minister Radoslavov and the German ambassador Michaheles in Sofia and constituted the Treaty of Amity and Alliance between the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the German Empire. It consisted of five articles that were to remain in force for five years. According to the treaty each of the contracting sides agreed not to enter an alliance or agreement directed against the other. Germany was obliged to protect Bulgarian political independence and territorial integrity against all attack which could result without provocation on the side of the Bulgarian government. In exchange Bulgaria was obligated to take action against any of its neighboring states had they attacked Germany.

 

This is a marvelous example of the M1911 2nd series 9mm Parabellum Bulgarian contract that is commonly referred to as the 1908 model.  This is an unmodified version in a unique holster with a 2nd matching magazine, a loading tool and punch. This 1908 Bulgarian is offered for $6,495.00. This gun may be withdrawn without notice for in-store sale. We reserve the right to sell any internet offering to a direct sale and do not warrant the availability of any firearm that does not have a cash deposit. Call or email for availability.    Questions to: josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com.

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LAYAWAYS:  Sometimes our "significant other" doesn't understand the beauty, craftsmanship and investment potential of one of these investor grade weapons.  In these circumstances where discretion becomes the better part of valor we will accept layaways of up to one year with at least 20% down and some activity occurring monthly to insure that after one year the sale is completed.  Cancellations of layaways forfeit 33% if done within two months, otherwise 100%. You can transfer a layaway to a consignment sale at any time. See "Legal" for exact terms.

 

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3 Day Return Policy

We honor a three day return policy. We will answer any questions, send you any pictures, as detailed as you want, to insure that what we are showing you is what you want to see, before you buy it.  See Legal.

FIRING ANY WEAPON NEGATES ANY CHANCE OF RETURN!

WARNING: We do not represent these guns as safe to fire. They are not test fired before sale; they are sold as collectibles only. Prior to firing you should have it inspected by a qualified individual and abide by all safety requirements.

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