1900 Early American Eagle Luger    

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This is a 1900 Model, 7.65mm (.30 Cal Luger) with the "old model" long frame with a Type II thumb safety and a grip squeeze safety.  There is an "American Eagle" that appears engraved from the US Great Seal over the Chamber in Gold and the DWM (Deutsche Waffen-und Munitionsfabriken AG) on the first toggle link.   (717)


This is an early 1900 Model (note Type II thumb safety) that is designed for the 7.65mm cartridge with a 120 mm barrel (4 3/4") The gun is "like new" with little evidence of ever being fired and is believed to be a "salesman's" sample.

This Parabellum is all matching;  the magazine  is correct and does not exhibit any serial number. Not too often do you find a 1900 with such clean lines and bevels, let along the distinctive fire-blued toggle connecting pins. It has not been barreled with a Swiss barrel, indicating it has been manufactured completely by DWM.


Michael  Reese II in 1977 wrote one of the first books on the American Eagle Test Series of guns in his book "1900 Luger U.S. Test Trials".  In essence the US Army undertook to test the Luger for acceptance as a service pistol from 1901 until 1907.  The first test was with just two pistols but the American Eagle was employed as a sales tool and when the second test began with the order for another 1000 pistols from DWM and 1000 holsters from the Rock Island Arsenal they all had the American Eagle. It has been the quest of many to specifically identify, by serial number the actual test guns.  In his first writing Reese stated the range from 6100-7100. 


Distinctive of the 1900 Model is the "dished toggles" and right toggle which included a locking mechanism which prevented the "knee" from actuating until the receiver had cleared the latch. The pencil barrel marks its "Luger" profile.

Acknowledged as an early characteristic was the numbering of the take down lever on the round end and the last two digits of the serial number on the magazine release.  Additionally the Type II thumb safety dates the piece to an early production model. The Type II thumb safety, later replaced with grooved, not checkered, safety. 

The most mistaken proof; often cited as a US Ordnance flaming bomb, it is truly a DWM inspection proof.


In the years since Reese was published the Luger community began to recognize that DWM didn't fill orders with the precision of blocks of serial numbers and the 1000 serial number range left too many exceptions.  Data collected over the past 30 years strongly indicates that guns bearing the "test" characteristics of no export marks, no proof marks, type II thumb safety, grips serial numbered to the gun and two variations of the application of the serial number on the locking bolt may have indeed filled the 1000 gun order for the test pieces 'out of sequence'.


Above Right:  Close examination appears that the American Eagle was engraved on this model, and the gold gilding so professionally done leads us to a presentation gun, the first known serial number of an American Eagle.


 In 1903 George Luger himself brought 50 Parabellums in 9mm to New York in exchange for 50 of the original test models.   These were to satisfy the complaint of the US Army test results as to "inadequate stopping power".  There was never a clear indication from official records which of the original guns serial numbers were used for this exchange, somewhat complicating the issue of "known" numbers.

At the end of the testing the US Army collected the guns and offered them at Public Auction for approximately $10@ and $.50 for magazines. The majority of the guns were bought by the Francis Bannerman Company and then they were refurbished and offered in their catalog.


While we have read that there were a few three digit American Eagles this is the earliest one that has no export markings, appears engraved, has all the characteristics of the early 1900 models, on an older long frame, narrow grip safety, does not have a Swiss barrel, type II thumb safety, and makes it totally unique the history of the American Eagle's or even test series guns.

 This is an extraordinary Luger.


While it is difficult to pin-point who and how this beautiful presentation Luger got to the US or for whom it was intended the oral history of the gun concludes that it was the first one sent to the US for Hans Tauscher, the DWM representative in the US, to present to the Army prior to testing to verify the existence of the DWM submissions for the test trials. A known gun (Ser #2001) was presented to Col. Theodore A. Bingham.




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