1920 DWM American Eagle

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This is a magnificent 1920 American Eagle, 9mm Parabellum assembled after the war for export to the United States prior to imposition of the Treaty of Versailles. This is a 9mm with a short frame, short sear and has no military proofs. The condition is excellent and comes from an old known collection. These are known by the collectors as a 1920 Commercial because they were issued in 9mm for sale before the imposition of caliber sizing by the Allied Commission. (2127)

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 firm AF Stoeger became the sole importer of the DWM Luger Pistols in the US on March 13, 1922.  Stoeger ordered its first Luger pistols through Hugo Panzer & Co. who was the successor for Hans Tauscher who fled to Germany in WWI when he was accused of being a spy.  It is not known if Stoeger attempted to buy the rights to import the Luger from Panzer but on July 25, 1921 Stoeger send a Confidential Price list to the whose jobbing trade.  These 1921 Lugers were not American Eagles and were 7.65 mm with 98mm barrels of those restricted by the Treaty of Versailles. 

 

The 150mm barrel was the primary barrel of the German Imperial Navy and so stocks of these were on hand when production ended in November 1918 with the Armistice. The rear of the gun has the traditional stock lug although they were not issued with a stock after WWI.
The 150mm (6" barrel) barrel was serial numbered to the gun and has a clean crisp barrel band on the end, distinctive of the Imperial Navy production gun. On the bottom of the magazine is a distinct 9m/m which is very unusual unless you consider that after WWI most of the commercial production was in the 7.65mm caliber.
On the inside of the stop lug well is the Circle N proof which was used as the final acceptance Proof Mark after its introduction in late 1917. Usually both the receiver and frame were similarly marked however here it appears only on the receiver the vertical Crown N.  Therefore from the premise that the "l" block frame was produced prior to the end of the war and married to the receiver in early 1920's.
This example has all matching numbers. In the history of the Stoeger orders it would appear that this is one would be of the "alphabet guns" from 1922-1926 that was re-worked by Stoeger and a 150mm barrel added. However further examination shows us the "l" block was used in 1918 production when production ended in 1918.  The made in Germany stamp appears and as an after thought to comply with international requirements.
Looking at the top of the American Eagle there is an absence of serial numbers from the extractor, the first toggle link and only on the rear toggle.  This is a beautiful 9mm very rare 1920 American Eagle.

 

 After July 4th 1920 DWM was not permitted to manufacture guns with a barrel of 100mm so these ‘20’s guns were all 98mm and since 9mm caliber was restricted they were 7.65mm or .30 caliber Luger. On 30 May 1922 DWM became BKIW, [Berlin, Karlsruhe-Jundustrie-Werke A-G].  In 1922 Stoeger ordered 2500 Parabellums with the 7.65mm barrels and the American Eagle “same as shipments before the war”. There was a second order in 1924 from Stoeger with requesting the two-line “A.F. Stoeger Inc and on the second line New York.   The Germany was added for export reasons. During this period the “post-war alphabet guns” began to appear in the orders and with some of the unfilled 1922 order the American Eagle was roll pressed on the guns.  These has the Berlin Crown N and a mixture of ‘Gesichert’ and ‘Geladen’ or ‘Safe’ and ‘Loaded’.

 

It is entirely subjective to give any Luger a rating of excellent or fine, just as it is to declare it xx% blued or strawed. Few Lugers are out of the box new and these are premium priced. Bluing percentages is like Beauty, in the eye of the beholder.  We strive to provide pictures so you can judge for yourself if the gun meets your criteria. Any questions or request for additional pictures email to josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com
The early 1918 "l" block frame with the addition of the American Eagle roll stamped on a Crown N proofed receiver completely out of sequence of the "Stoeger" ordered Parabellums make this more probably a salesman's sample that was generated in early 1920 before the imposition of the Treaty of Versailles which forbid 9mm and more than 100mm barrels. The vertical Crown N was introduced when production was resumed in late 1919.
This is an all-matching Parabellum with a very early suffix. The "l" suffix is attributed to 1922 production of BKIW, yet we know that the Germans were not permitted to build a 9mm or 150mm barrel after July 1921 with the imposition of occupation by the French and Belgium forces.
Head stamps proved a very successful method of selling the Parabellum.  Beginning with the Swiss 1900's sales success DWM presented the American Eagle test guns, 1900 and 1906 commercials.  No surprise after WWI that DWM began again to seek the American market by re-introducing the American Eagle on the popular Luger. The fact that the extractor and thumb safety (Above Right) 'Gesichert' in German indicates that these early 1920 models were still being manufactured from WWI surplus materials.

"GELADEN" (Loaded) on the extractor is a very early innovation to tell the shooter that a round was in the chamber both visually and tactilely.  The Crown N on the receiver is the distinctive Berlin final acceptance proof since Berlin did not have an independent proof house. Above Right: This shot showing the bottom of the barrel, locking lever and side plate with all matching numbers.

 

 Upon the end of hostilities 11 November. 1918 DWM continued to run full tilt until 20 December 1918 when either due to formal cancellation or lack of coal. This took production into the "m" block which was resumed in late 1919 when production was resumed for the new military contracts.  The Treaty of Versailles forbade the production of military weapons and the Germans issued orders on 20 September 1920 adding the Parabellum and C92 to the list. Inspections of the large weapons plants was nearly impossible for the IMKK (Allied Commission) so it authorized only Simson & Co., as the only producer of "military arms".

 

Adding to the dichotomy of 'generally accepted' serial number assignment for the caliber and barrel length, the first toggle link would begin to show a more rounded radius characteristic of the BKIW manufacturing process of the mid-20's yet this clearly gives us a DWM toggle assembly. 

The inside of the gun is as clean and well maintained as the exterior. you can see all the matching serial numbers on all the small parts and the short sear of the post 1915 models, the thumb safety down (Safe) with the German word Gesichert (safe) exposed.  Below:  Above the breechblock their is a raised signal marked Geladen  to tell the shooter that the gun is loaded.  This can be felt in the dark so all one had to do was release the safety and the noise of cocking the gun did not give the shooter away.
Serial number placement is in the commercial ("hidden") style.   The serial number appears on the front of the frame, on the bottom of the locking bolt, on the trigger, on the bottom of the barrel, and the bottom of the side plate
Here is the Luger in full recoil with the rear main axel pin exposed. The frame is a DWM frame as you can not see the 2mm hump that Mauser built into the frames to protect the rear main axel pin in their manufacture. 
The grips are walnut with the fine diamond hatching utilized in the military gun production. The absence of any proofs on the right of the receiver or barrel would indicate these parts came off the production line as surplus and not previously inspected as part of the military production.  Made in Germany shows this to be, as intended, and export gun.
ABOVE LEFT: The bottom of the receiver is struck at the joint with the barrel when it is aligned. This gives us a chance to determine if the barrel has been replaced during the assembly of the gun. It would appear from the picture that the barrel has been replaced and a new strike mark is superimposed over the old. ABOVE RIGHT: The Crown N is stamped on the breech block and the side of the receiver. This is a post-WWI proof mark utilized for commercial firearms.  The barrel is not proofed with either acceptance proof.

In January 1923 Germany was occupied by France & Belgium to enforce the payment of the onerous reparations demanded by the western countries. While struggling for political footing with the Communists in Eastern Europe and the Bolsheviks in the Bavaria the Weimar government in the middle of the depression was being torn apart by forces it couldn't control. Only the paramilitary and police were keeping daily life from falling into anarchy; re-arming the police and military became a driving force for the weapons manufacturers working around the Allied Commission inspectors.

 

This 1920 DWM American Eagle stands in a class of its own. Begun with an "l" block military frame that is well proofed from 1918 it is married to a 9mm receiver with an 6" (150mm) barrel to make perhaps a one-of-one salesman's sample before the initial post WWI Stoeger order.  This really unusual early post war Parabellus is offered for $4,250.00 over the counter.


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 physical deposit. This gun may be withdrawn without notice for in-store sale. Call for availability Any questions or request for additional pictures email 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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