I would appreciate it if someone could confirm my research. I have what I'm sure is a Beretta Model 1935, that I'm pretty sure was issued to the German Army.
The pistol is serial number 5372xx, with slide, frame, and barrel matching. Oustide of the standard slide markings (with a year of 1944), the pistol has a relatively large dimple directly above the 5 in the serial number and to smaller dimples at 11 and just above 9 o'clock in relation to the 5 in the serial number. There is also a dimple on the right hand side of the slide just to the rear of the serations. Finally, the slide has two dimples just forward of the slide serations on the left hand side.
The frame is stamped with the 4UT in an oval just behind the right (non lanyard loop) grip. On the left had bottom, just beneath the lanyard loop, the frame bears a B stamp and what appears to be a very deep, but poorly stamped X--almost like a V with very short legs.
The pistol appears blued, with the bluing only having rubbed off at the high wear points on the slide and the underside of the barrel. The bore is clean and shiny with no trace of corrosion. The rest of the pistol has some oxidation/rust--although minor.
So, I think I have a M1935 issued to the German Army in fair condition.
Now, the story behind the pistol. In 1944, I beleive, the B-17 my grandfather, a B-17 radioman, and his crew had to bail out of their aircraft over Yugoslavia. After safely parachuting to the ground, my grandfather met up with some Yugo partisans who had also met five other members of his crew. The partisan escorted them to the shore near Split.
Once at the shore, my grandfather traded his service .45 with one of the partisans who had a damaged pistol (presumably an M1935). When he returned to Italy he turned in the weapon as per procedure.
At war's end, the war department sent him the pistol I have now. My grandfather told me it couldn't possibly be the same pistol he turned in because this one appears to have never been damaged. My grandfather recently passed, and I now own the pistol, which was abusively stored in my mother's hot, humid actic for several years.
Somewhere, I believe, I still have the war department paperwork transferring the pistol to my grandfather. I have a source which is attempting to locate the USAAF paper work on the lost B-17. I have my grandfather's had written notes, circa 1944, of his bailout, rescue, and return to Germany. I have a photo taken of him, his four crewmates, and one unknown airman taken immediately after his return to Italy (still unshaven and looking a bit worse for wear, but grinning ear to ear.) I also have the small new testament that he had in his pocket when he bailed--but that's usually in my BDU pocket--it was the same new testament my great grandfather had in WWI. I also have his wounded duck, catapilar club certificate, and his ripcord.
With that info, as a collection, can someone take even a wild guess at the value? I will *NEVER--EVER* part with these relics of my family's history--my grandfather was, in every regard, my hero, but my insurance company wants a ballpark figure.
Finally, firearms laws being what they are, what is the best way to position myself to hang on to this forever? C+R? Have it declared a historic object? Does such a thing exist? Were that to fail, does anyone know of a museum(s) which might be interested in such things?
Finally, a technical question, I've searched this forum at some length, but I cannot find an answer to my satisfaction. What's the best way to store this weapon? At the moment, I have it slathered in CLP to arrest any future oxidation, but that sure is ugly. It is stored in a hard case in my temperate apparment folded once into a well oiled cloth (with room for ventilation).
Thank you very much for any help you may be able to provide.