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"Black Widow" bubble...?

6339 Views 91 Replies 33 Participants Last post by  HK940
For the longer-term collectors (I'm < 1 year), have you seen this type of "MUST BUY NOW!" mania for Lugers, say for so-called Black Widow (BW) Lugers; that is, a byf 41 or 42 with black bakelite grips (either original or added later)? If so, when (approximately), and did it burst sharply, or at least cool off with prices dropping at some point?

Alternatively, in the past few decades has there been a (semi) frenzy for a particular type of Luger that went from in-demand to full-on nuts, or is the current BW mania atypical? If yes, what happened in the long-run in terms of collectability and pricing for the MUST-HAVE Lugers?

Just trying to get some perspective... Thanks and cheers. Batty67/Mark G
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This has the potential to be a great thread, there are folks on this forum that are way more "long-haul" than me. And way more "luger specific" than me as I have a broad pallet when it comes to guns. I've been "around it" since I was a little kid. I actually began my own journey with collecting and selling at 16, (maybe still a kid at that point, maybe still a kid now) I'm almost 60 now, so a little over 40 years in with mentorship along the way. I'm doing the same for my kids and now my grandkids. I was taught that this "hobby" is something you can "make a little money at", and that it will at worst, "fund itself' if you do it right.

Some members here easily have another 20 years on me so I'm excited to hear what they say.

Some humor to start....Why aren't P38s with black grips "Black widow P38s" I think I'm going to list a couple on GB that way and see what happens......maybe I should buy up all the loose wartime black P38 grips first.

This current "black widow" trend is just nuts, and unprecedented both. Bitd, if somebody overpaid for a "black widow" you would say something like, "you realize that's just a common luger with black grips, right?' I blame the internet and the ability to find theses things easily (which at the onset of it's use actually caused prices to fall due to availability, perhaps another thread altogether) combined with a desire to own with no regard to actual current value. And (more importantly), the term "black widow" being somehow solidified and "legitimized" as a variant. Also quite possibly just a few "flippers" blowing it all up. Who knows, but BWs are the cabbage patch kid of lugers right now. It's a shame RS isn't alive to see what he's done.

I have watched trends with regard to antique and collectable guns (and guns in general) with great interest for years.

First, I live in an oil producing State. Here are my personal observations; When we have a Democratic President typically inflation ensues, the economy will take a down turn as prices rise due to inflation. Some people tighten belts. Others make quick profits. And oil always goes way up.

When this happens Lugers and collectable guns start to move. Possibly from the need to sell for some, and being cash heavy from quick profits and wanting to buy for others. This causes prices to spike, this also causes people to notice that these things are "worth a lot" and suddenly grandpa Joe's Luger comes out of the sock drawer. The resulting inflationary seller's market ensues. It's a great time to sell and make profits on guns you need to upgrade and some you just have to "let go of" because the offer or opportunity is just too good. The downside is suddenly there are rare guns "out of the woodwork" you've been after for a while available, but the the price is now higher than a month ago when you couldn't find one. I have personally filled two holes in my collection in the last month with items that were scarce just a few months ago. One was a "steal" and the other was "at the top of retail", but the condition made it "impossible to upgrade" so I bought it. It will easily be worth more than I paid for it in just a few years.

A collector's world was once quite small, you had your local network of gun shops. Then the one's you would travel to occasionally (say an hr or three from home). You would establish relationships with these folks and hope they would call if something good showed up. Other collectors you met along the way, same thing. Not unlike the way guns move within this forum. You would make all the local gun shows, and the BIG show in your state if it had one. If not you would go to the closest BIG one if you had gas and gun money on hand.

Things always stabilize (there's always a "correction") and prices go down, usually not below 'the start of it all" but close sometimes.

I'll close my thoughts with @ the OP, If you have a BW you bought at $3500 six months ago, sell it now for 8k and buy 2 or three other lugers you really like. JB ;)
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I think that one aspect of the introduction and subsequent use of composition grips on Lugers has been much overlooked and possibly too simplified and that is the question: why?
They were molding phenolic P38 grips, PP & PPk grips, MP40 grips & fore-ends etc. A better question would be why not? JB
Right, so I wonder if they were going to phenolic grips on P. 08s say starting in mid 1941 then why didn’t they go to phenolic grips on P.O8s?? I mean when they adopted in the design (on what is listed in the post above) or switched materials in other cases like late war browning HPs they made all subsequent pieces with those new materials. We see with the byf mid 41 production through the end of 42 production a more or less flat percentage (20-30% estimated) of composition grip use as opposed to a ramp up over 18 months or even a switch over. This is very unusual for any other similar change that I know of in German small arms production maybe even unique. My only explanation is that they wanted to use up wooden blanks pre cut for grips or they were fitting phenolic grips to Lugers going to a particular services depots, which I think is unlikely. On the other hand if I was chief of OKH ordnance and paying .5 Reichmark less for every Luger with phenolic grips then I would have had 175,000 fitted with them instead of 35,000
You have to remember that luger production was ending. You stop wood grip production and use up stock on hand and make up shortfalls with phenolic. They already had the molds. Aluminum mag bases the same, they could stop using valuable aluminum and machine time and make up/finish out what was needed.

Folks want their BW to have been used by (or issued to) the mean SS officer or specially made for the SS. By 41the luger was just a dying breed headed for planned obsolescence. JB
"Cost" or manpower as a consideration for anything at this point in the war was not a factor. The Nazis were devouring countries and their resources (both materials and wealth) and they were creating their own state (and slave) labor forces by leaps and bounds. Cost of luger grips was nothing to them.

The "SS" you are thinking of, was already gone by '41 replaced by the waffen SS the need for which, rapid expansion had created. So if you think those black gripped lugers went to the waffen SS you're probably right. Along with wood gripped lugers, P38s, hi powers and everything else.

The waffen SS was not getting "special all black lugers" as cool as it sounds. JB
Are any forum members buying BWs at these prices? Inquiring minds.....
One cannot purchase that what does not exist.

After all they are just wartime P08's with plastic grips.
Vlim, It's easier to type BW......than say "byf41 with phenolic grips"

I've filed for the copyright on "Black Widow Luger©" and "Brown Recluse Luger©" 😁
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