quote:Originally posted by royusa
I am going to an auction next week where I am told a 'Death Head' Luger will be up for sale. I have spoken with a person who has seen this gun and I'm told it has the 'Skull and Cross bones' on the receiver
I know that this thread is just about a year old now but I can add some information for others if they are interested.
I have had a 1918 DWM rig that I purchased from a GI who brought it back from WW II (2 matching mags, holster, capture papers, and all). The chamber was marked with the skull and crossed bones. The Luger was packed full of very old cosmoline and it appeared to be completely unfired (no loading marks on either of the matching magazines and no wear on any moving parts) The GI said that it was that way when he picked it up and he never bothered to clean it, just put it away. He could not tell me anything about it other than he thought it was interesting with the skull and crossed bones
I have also seen fakes of these at shows. As to originality: Anytime anything takes on an excusive value because of something as simple as a marking there will be fakes that appear in order to capitalize on this market.
An original DWM will have the skull and cross bones STAMPED into the receiver just like the date is stamped. All of the fakes I have examined have had the skull and crossbones engraved into the receiver. To determine if a mark is engraved you should look at it under magnification and you will see the tell tale impact marks of the engraving tool where the hammer strikes the chisel. One that is pressed will have the same appearance under magnification as the date does on the chamber.
As to what the skull and cross bones signifies. I have no idea but I do know that in WW I there were flame thrower brigades in the German army that used a skull and cross bones emblem. This DWM did not have any unit marks which would have verified it was issued to one of them. Lugers dating from late in the war rarely had unit markings and this one was a DWM 1918. The emblem on the one I had was closer to the insignia of the flame thrower brigades then to the later WW II SS skull and cross bones. Is it possible that some SS officers used these DWM lugers with their emblem? Yes it is, but I do not feel that they were made for the SS or that they are actual SS items (but this is just a personal opinion and no more)