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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was for me a lucky day indeed - I found (and bought) a Bulgarian contract 1908. The price was reasonable, and I managed to negociate 10% off. Being a Dutchman this adds to feeling lucky too...

Due to license stuff (paper work), I will have the P08 not before end of next week on my desk, so pics will have to wait untill that moment. I promise to add them to this thread - but you most not expect a fair beauty. It is the prototype of a real warhorse.

Bulgaria was one of the countries to accept George Lugers automatic pistol for her army. A first contract of some 750 pistols were delivered in 1902, and a second contract of around 1500 Lugers reached Tirana during 1908, the same year the Bulgaria got its independence from the Ottoman Empire. These two contracts are known as the 1900 and the 1906 Bulgarian Lugers.

The third contract was more important. Some 10.000 Lugers, serial numbered 1-5000 and 1C-5000C went to this country, known as the 1908 Bulgarian Luger.

Directly after, Bulgaria went deeply into four conflicts; two Balkan wars, and two costly battles of WWI. The Country lost 270.000 soldiers... A high price to pay, mainly caused by the wrong decision to choose the side of the Central Powers in 1915.

During WWII, Bulgaria started again on the side of the Axis Powers, but when the Russian army came too near in 1944, Sofia changed partners and helped the Soviets to throw the Germans out of Hungary, Austria and Yugoslavia.

The 1908 Bulgarian Luger I got today tells its own story. The grips are original and so very weared, that the checkering of the walnut has gone on the places where hand and fingers of soldiers must have tried to keep control.

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The barrel is also original, but I have never seen such a heavy wear inside of any other P.08. Many thousands of bullets, may be also a lot with WWII steel jackets, must have been fired through it.

All the critical identification items are present; the crest with the Bulgarian lion on the toggle, the DWM logo on the chamber, the lion proof on the right side of the receiver, the moving lanyard loop at the bottom of the rear grip strap, Cyrillic safety and extractor markings.

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There are also some mismatches: the trigger, trigger plate and take down lever do not have the matching '98' marking, but all other small parts do. The weared blueing is original, strawing alsmost disapeared. There are two mag's, non matching, both wooden based WWI - style.

Well, I have this historical Luger now in my hands, after two weeks of paperwork. It tells its own story...

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Thank you for reading.
 

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Joop,

Thanks for an excellent overview of the Bulgarian Luger contracts. Congratulations on your excellent find and a Bulgarian Luger with so much character. As is often said about military pistols that have been there and seen a lot "if only they could talk"! Look forward to seeing pictures as soon as you can post them.
 

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To find an all original complete unaltered 1908 Bulgarian is indeed a rather uncommon event. Like the Russian variations, it was in service till the cows came home , sort of to speak. Nice find and in Europe at that. Never know what's around the corner.
 

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To find an all original complete unaltered 1908 Bulgarian is indeed a rather uncommon event. Like the Russian variations, it was in service till the cows came home , sort of to speak. Nice find and in Europe at that. Never know what's around the corner.
 
G

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Joop,excuse me for jumping in, but Tirana is the capital of Albania. Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. Also there is something wrong with the numbers made and the importance of these 3 contracts. Albert,who is a specialist in hostoric lugers can explain to you anything about the 3 variations of Bulgarians and the manufacture nunbers. His adress is Luger1900 in this forum.
Regards, Apostolos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello Apostolos,

First of all, welcome to this forum. Here you meet people like you and me, who are always trying to learn from each other, and I like to learn from you in the case of the Bulgarian Lugers.
Luger1900 is known to me as a very well informed collector. I will certainly ask him about the confusion about Tirana and Sofia, and the three variations of Bulgarian Lugers as you suggest.
Thanks, and welcome to the forum again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To all,

Apostolos from Greece is right. Tirana is the capital of Albania, and Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. I changed this in my thread heading. (Should go back to school...)
 
G

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Joop,thank you for wellcoming me to this forum.I am an old collector,but I started to learn about lugers a year ago and Albert Beliard who is member in this forum as Luger1900 such as in the Luger forum helped me to learn more.I have only 3 lugers in my collection which are a 1920 commercial,an M1900 Bulgarian and a mint unfired gold inlaid one.When I was in the start 24 years ago I made the mistake to collect any pistol I was able to find(WW I and WW II era only).So I spent years in restoring these in my own ss many of them had average and lower condition.Now I am learning thanks to the Luger forum that this was a mistake for some historic at least pieces because the restoration reduces their value.Now I am trying to own a Bulgarian 1908 like yours and I will ask Alberts opinion first as it remains about 65-70% its original finish and there is some pitting too.Thank you again,many regards.You have a beautiful country and sorry for my English.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Apostolos,

Like a told you above, we all started once learning the hard way. In my case, I took every Luger I could find here, afraid to miss the opportunity.
So I learned that the first thing you must do, is studying. Read books, listening to fellow collectors, and then you make a choice to from which period, type or country you are going to collect Lugers.
The only thing which is real difficult, is the patience you need to develop.
Wait, look and then suddenly you find the splendid Luger you really want.
I am sure you learned all that too.
About the 1908 Bulgarians; they have seen four wars. It is almost impossible to find one without wear or signs of heavy use.

Good luck with this passion.
(Your English is perfectly understandable for me!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Ed,

But I suppose that you still have some Flemish (Dutch) words hanging around in your memory, as you stayed in the Netherlands for some time...
So, I am going to take a nap (03:00AM here) and wish you 'goede nacht' :)
 

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Joop
Excellent photographs and presentation of your 1908 Bulgarian, serial number 698c. Of all the military Lugers, these show the most combat use. They saw action in both Balkan Wars and in both World Wars. I have examined several that saw so much use that the grips were worn smooth (see page 305 Axis Pistols or page 69-71 Volume I, for a photograph of a 1908 Bulgarian with grips worn smooth.). Excellent find.
Jan
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Jan,
Thank you for this comment. I found in the meantime the matching holster. That also shows wear, but it is still in good shape and has no defects.

I came back this week from a short visit to Isreal, where I examined a collection of 69 Lugers. I bought them and they will be here in Belgium within two weeks. I promise to show some of them here, in your forum.
 

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Joop, the cat is out of the bag!

He told me sometime ago about these lugers from Isreal, and the listing of guns is fabulous! I can barely wait to hear about and see these beauties!

:)

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes Ed,

The cat could escape, thanks to an excellent visit to Isreal, and my personal inspection (and packageing) of this marvelous collection. Three wooden boxes will go with El Al end of this week. All paperwork on both sides is OK (took two full month to get it). Eitan Feldmann is a marvelous man, who collected this bunch during 35 years. All but one Luger are caught by him in Israel; it is a harvest of all kinds and periods. You have seen the listing of GabrielB.
I will come back here with a few very special items, noteworthy for the forum.

First I must wait untill the three boxes are delivered here.
Unpacking and registering will take some time, I will not achieve it in a hurry. It is like tasting good wine, little sips are more joyfull.

:)
 
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