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I thought I was stating reality, please correct me if I’m wrong. My thinking is there are very few leather Indian, Medieval or Roman relics today. Long term, not in our or the next few generations lifetime, it will eventually decompose.
Yes, everything has an atomic half life. Your pistol will eventually decompose too but that's no reason to treat it carelessly. The reason many leather artifacts are not seen are many. Too many people are just ignorant of what to do to keep them in good shape or lazy. They don't care. There are many military manuals on the proper care, treatment and storage of leather items. They sometimes lead us away from the proper way to treat vintage Luger holsters as they are mostly concerned with field use and not necessarily preservation of vintage items long term.
One has to be interested and care enough to obtain information and then act on it. In letting your holster fend for itself so far, it has acumumlated mold on the back belt loops, perhaps other places but I cannot see inside of it. Mold is not a good condition for thread or leather. I have written many pages of information as have other collectors about leather on this Forum. Might be something you will eventually find an interest in.
Beautiful pistol and holster. A real treasure to be sure. Many collectors here would consider this to be a holy grail of collecting. Many of us will never be lucky enough to have one like it.
Took me awhile but I found several of your posts about preservation. I wasn’t inputting the best query words to find your posts. So I’ll study the information provided to do the best for this holster & pistol. Thanks for keeping me on the right track.
Thank you - this forum has taken me from Luger identification, to Luger preservation & storage, replacement (insurance) valuation and lastly holster ID and preservation. We’ll done by all.
 

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The oldest leather artifact easily located via a search is around 5,000 years old. Where to See the Oldest Artifacts in the World

Wood like leather is also organic; oldest known wood artifact is 420,000 years old. I would have said oldest human-made artifact, but that long ago the creature may not have looked human.

The moral of the story being, it's worth finding and following Jerry's advice on leather preservation because it is possible for things made of organic material to last a long time.
 

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Concerning storing pistols in the holster….. I have seen and owned many, many bring back weapons that have been kept in the holster since they were brought back, from both World Wars. They were fine. I think the problems arise if they get wet, or are stored in some kind of case that can’t breathe. I have taken them from unheated, uninsulated attics and they are fine. Basements can be problematic. Another argument for storing it in its holster is to keep the rig together. If something happens to me, who will know what goes where? My collector friends could probably figure it out, but it’s still a guessing game. I have pistols that have been stored in their holsters since 1918 and 1945 and they are fine. A light coat of RIG, regular inspections and a relatively dry environment and they are fine. Plus it keeps history together. I’m not advocating this for everyone, just saying what works for me.

Steve

A caveat - I’m speaking of German and Japanese weapons where the holsters are relatively loose fitting. More tightly fitting holsters, such as those for the US M1911 may be more prone to problems. And remember, wet and dampness are always enemies.
 

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I thought I was stating reality, please correct me if I’m wrong. My thinking is there are very few leather Indian, Medieval or Roman relics today. Long term, not in our or the next few generations lifetime, it will eventually decompose.
Yes, everything has an atomic half life. Your pistol will eventually decompose too but that's no reason to treat it carelessly. The reason many leather artifacts are not seen are many. Too many people are just ignorant of what to do to keep them in good shape or lazy. They don't care. There are many military manuals on the proper care, treatment and storage of leather items. They sometimes lead us away from the proper way to treat vintage Luger holsters as they are mostly concerned with field use and not necessarily preservation of vintage items long term.
One has to be interested and care enough to obtain information and then act on it. In letting your holster fend for itself so far, it has acumumlated mold on the back belt loops, perhaps other places but I cannot see inside of it. Mold is not a good condition for thread or leather. I have written many pages of information as have other collectors about leather on this Forum. Might be something you will eventually find an interest in.
Beautiful pistol and holster. A real treasure to be sure. Many collectors here would consider this to be a holy grail of collecting. Many of us will never be lucky enough to have one like it.
You are spot on in your comments. Thanks for sharing your time, effort, and experience.
 

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Concerning storing pistols in the holster….. I have seen and owned many, many bring back weapons that have been kept in the holster since they were brought back, from both World Wars. They were fine. I think the problems arise if they get wet, or are stored in some kind of case that can’t breathe. I have taken them from unheated, uninsulated attics and they are fine. Basements can be problematic. Another argument for storing it in its holster is to keep the rig together. If something happens to me, who will know what goes where? My collector friends could probably figure it out, but it’s still a guessing game. I have pistols that have been stored in their holsters since 1918 and 1945 and they are fine. A light coat of RIG, regular inspections and a relatively dry environment and they are fine. Plus it keeps history together. I’m not advocating this for everyone, just saying what works for me.

Steve

A caveat - I’m speaking of German and Japanese weapons where the holsters are relatively loose fitting. More tightly fitting holsters, such as those for the US M1911 may be more prone to problems. And remember, wet and dampness are always enemies.
Good comments, thank you. I summarize my observations on storing in holsters thus:
1. Leather is porous and contains chemicals (e.g., tanning) that may interact with metal and metal finishes in an undesirable way. H2O in the environment will pass through the leather, too.
2. Oil on the metal's surface will permeate the leather, staining, darkening, and weakening the leather over time.
3. The metal-leather interface can be blocked with a neutral, inert barrier, such as a plastic or acid-free paper. Acid-free paper is a very useful material infrequently mentioned in these discussions but I store some holsters wrapped in such paper.
4. Keeping a pistol, holster, and other documents or accessories together can be done by putting them all together in an archival storage box. No need to store the pistol in the holster that way. That is a small price to pay for long-term protection. You can then label the box, adding information for those who come after you. I am guilty of using shipping boxes but those have problems so wrap your items before putting in these boxes.
5. Environment control (humidity, no light, temperature control) is very helpful for protecting leather, cloth, wood, and other organic items.
6. Practically speaking, many leather items will deteriorate over the decades. This process can be greatly slowed to a virtual standstill with a few simple care steps.
 
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