1900 King Carlos Test Luger

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King Carlos

This is believed to be a one of thirty (1/30) gun order, delivered to the Portuguese and stamped with the  King Carlos I  in 1906. This was a common tactic of DWM in the 1900's to place the crest of the country on their initial deliveries, begun with the Swiss, continued with the American Eagle and so on. These guns were tested by a commission of Portuguese artillery officers and 2nd test was ordered because of the success of the gun.    (2145)

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.  Before your purchase please read Legal for Conditions of Sale. Thank you for your cooperation.


King Carlos of PortugualCarlos I became King on 19 October 1889. Colonial treaties with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (one signed in August 1890 that defined their African borders along the Zambezi and Congo rivers and another signed on 14 October 1899, that confirmed colonial treaties of the 17th century) stabilized the situation in Africa. These agreements were however unpopular in Portugal where they were seen as being to the disadvantage of the country.


This is a long frame, 120mm barrel, 7.65mm Parabellum with the long sear, early extractor, and dished toggles all characteristics of the 1900 early models.  This is an early long frame with the wide grip safety, long sear, dished toggles, and flat top design with no stock lug making it the classic Luger design.

Above Left: Over the chamber is the rolled engraving of the crown with the large C (Carlos) and the Roman Numeral "I" for the 1st. Above Right: these guns were marked in the commercial manner with the last 2 digits of the serial number under the side plate and locking lever, concealed on the trigger by the side plate and no numbers on the seer stop. Also this picture reveals the wide trigger guard characteristic of the early 1900 models giving them their distinctive look.

These are old model long frames with DWM scrolled on the first toggle link and the brushed safety with the area above the chamber marked to the country Luger was seeking a contract.  This was the same period that the 1900 Bulgarian, 1900 Serbian, 1900 American Eagle were being marketed as around 1902 Georg Luger was enjoying a good start up market after adoption of the parabolic by the Swiss and his success with the national chamber markings.

There are 5 known representations of this variation Luger in the US.  In October 2008 a German auction house offered one for sale and it is believed three more exists in the US. This is much like the American Eagle, Swiss, Chilean, Bolivian, and other early 1900 crest marked Parabellums that Luger was promoting to foreign nations to accelerate sales.

There is always been some discussion regarding the total number of these guns manufactured and marked within this series. In 2013 a Mr. Regalado was cited, credited as a Portuguese researcher with the Lisbon Military Museum, who determined that in 1906 only 30 of these 1900 models with the King's initials were furnished for testing by a group of commissioned artillery officers.

These tests were successful and in 1907 another group of officers were formed and 50 more Parabellum's were delivered by DWM, however these had no crests and were the plain commercial version so this might be where the confusion between 30 copies of the King Carlos Luger was mixed with the 50 copies later tested with no crest.


Domestically, Portugal was twice declared bankrupt - on 14 June 1892, and again on 10 May 1902 - causing industrial disturbances, socialist and republican antagonism and press criticism of the monarchy. Carlos responded by appointing Joćo Franco as prime minister and subsequently accepting parliament's dissolution.

As a patron of science and the arts, King Carlos took an active part in the celebration of the 500th anniversary (in 1894) of the birth of Prince Henry the Navigator. The following year he decorated the famous Portuguese poet João de Deus in a ceremony in Lisbon. Carlos took a personal interest in deep-sea and maritime exploration, publishing an account of his own studies in this area.


The top view reveals the Serbian Crest and the DWM [Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken] rolled onto the front toggle link but not as deeply as the latter models. It appears to have the early rust blued original finish with the customary parts strawed.


With all the discussion about the beginning and ending numbers of the King Carlos I test guns there never has been a definitive proof of the numbers. It was known to be three digits and all the examples known began in the "200" range. What is not known was if they were sequential or commercial guns taken off the rack and monogrammed to fill the order.  Above Right is the bottom of the magazine with no marks whatsoever.

On the bottom of the slide from left to right we can see all 4 digits of the serial number under the barrel. At the slide stop we can see the last 2 digits of the serial number and inside on the 1st toggle link we can see the last 2 digits of the serial number.
Holding an early Luger, a timeless representation of a personal level of quality and pride of craftsmanship, brings you back 100 years to another century of weapons development. This Luger represents a piece of history and a turning point of modern firearms. Note the wide rebated trigger guard; these early models did not have a stock lug and were numbered consecutively until 1923.

On 1 February 1908, the royal family returned from the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa to Lisbon, where they spent time hunting in Alentejo in the hunting season during the winter. On their way to the royal palace, the open carriage with Carlos I and his family passed through the Terreiro do Paço. While crossing the square, shots were fired from the crowd by two republican activists: Alfredo Luís da Costa and Manuel Buíça. Buíça, a former army sergeant fired five shots from a rifle hidden under his long overcoat. The king died immediately, his heir Luís Filipe was mortally wounded and Prince Manuel was hit in the arm. The queen alone escaped injury. The two assassins were killed on the spot by police and bodyguards. Several days later, the younger son, Prince Manuel, was proclaimed king of Portugal; he was the last of the Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha dynasty and the last king of Portugal as well.


The inside of the gun shows a very clean and well cared for Luger.  Serial numbers on the trigger and three digit serial on the grip safety. The grips are serial numbered to the gun with three digits.  This gun is immaculate under the grips.

Studying the "open" Luger you can see the last two digits of the serial number on the trigger and on the grip safety.  On top is the dished toggle with the serrated edge and beneath that is the Type II thumb safety.  Also pointed out is the original leaf spring carriage return spring that was replaced in 1908 with the coil spring and elimination of the grip safety.

The grips are inspector marked and have the last 2 digits of the serial number stamped in the wood. It is difficult to find the golden rule that applies to when serial numbers are present. Before the military contracts some grips were numbered in some work. The original theory was that the parts were numbered to keep track of them during the test phases of the gun but apparently the practice continued into the commercial sales department.

This Parabellum has a thumb safety of the 2nd design in the evolution of this world famous hand gun. The thumb safety is rounded and diced which then evolved after a very short period into straight lines. This thumb safety is known as Type II; at that time safe was down and to fire was the up position. This appeared to be counter intuitive as far as the German army was concerned and was switched in 1904. Above Right. The toggle lock was simple mechanics with the rearward motion of the slide the toggle hit the rail and was pushed up activating the "knee" affect and opening the chamber.

One has to simply admire the clean lines and flattop of the early 1900 model Luger. Later on, the side plate was thickened into a ridge which appears on the rear toggle link which was raised over the receiver return spring creating a ridge at the rear the gun.

Below: These early magazines or silver sleeved and wrapped with a folded seam and were relatively strong for that time. Magazines evolved in design over the years so that by 1945 they were extruded metal, solid and with a zigzag spring instead of the coil of the early models.

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.


This is an extraordinary Luger in the very rare category that represents one of thirty known Portuguese Test guns from the 1900's to be produced for the King of Portugal. Any questions to josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com. The gun is classified as a Curio and Relic and can be shipped directly to those licensees. This classic and historical hand gun, being 1 of 30, is offered for $16,500 to those collectors and investors who are looking for the rare and timeless handguns.

We reserve the right to sell any Internet offering to a direct sale and do not warrant the availability of other firearm that does not have a physical deposit. This gun may be withdrawn without notice for in store sale; call for availability. We reserve the right to withdraw any firearm from an auction site that is sold over the counter.
 Prices are adjusted for cash  transactions.


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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.


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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