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IMPERIAL NAVY PROOFS AND SN (Post updated with Dwight Gruber,10/7; Mike Jones, 10/10; and Garfield, 10/11 data)
Imperial Navy Lugers have always been of great interest to collectors and therefore command a premium price. The high price and demand has lead to replicating. It is well known by collectors that the 1904 and 1916/1917 Navies have been replicated. I am not aware of replicating of 1906 and 1908 Navies. The appearance of the proof stamping is important in determining what constitutes a righteous Imperial Navy Luger. I do not claim to be an Imperial Navy expert, however I thought that I would pass along what observations and information I have concerning Navy proofs. Shown are a number of righteous and two replica Navy Lugers. I would suggest its time to compile a data base of righteous Navy Lugers. If you would take photographs of the proofs on your Navy Luger and present them here it would most helpful. Be sure to indicate the model and serial number (partial with xx is OK).





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Figure 1. 1904 Navy, serial number 51, left receiver proofs. Three lobe.

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Figure 2. 1904 Navy, serial number 51, proof above lanyard. Three lobe.

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Figure 3. 1904 Navy, serial number 79, left receiver proofs. Three lobe.

Based on information from Whittaker* and Jones**, 1904 Navies serial numbers 2, 15, 36, 51, 61, 79 and 94 all have the distinctive 3 lobe Navy test proof shown(figures 1-3) above. The crown floats above the “M”. As documented with photographs by Whittaker on his web site, the use of the three lobe test proof continued on early 1906 Navy Lugers serial numbers 342 and 461.
*web page **phone conversation (updated Oct. 10, 2003 from Mike Jones post.





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Figure 4. 1906 Navy, serial number 3004, left receiver proofs. Three lobe.

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Figure 5. 1906 Navy, serial number 3004, bottom of barrel serial number and proof.

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Figure 6. 1906 Navy, serial number 790a, left receiver proofs. Three lobe

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Figure 7. 1906 Navy, serial number 790a, bottom of barrel serial number and proof.

The above photographs demonstrate that the proof dies wear and Navy proofs are not always well defined. The “M” shown above on the left receiver proofs (Figure 4 and 6) are mostly without the feet at the base of the “M”. This is due to wear and a poor stamping angle. The crown above the “M” is not floating but is mostly tight to the “M”.

The Crown/M on the barrels is different than that on the receivers (Figures 5 and 7). In one case the size is different. In both cases the crown floats above the M.




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Figure 7.1 1906 Navy, serial number 7909a. Pentagon.



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Figure 8. 1908 Navy, serial number 2374b, left receiver proofs. The proofs are well defined and the crown is tight to the “M”.




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Figure 8.1. 1908 Navy, serial number 3939b, left receiver proofs. Pentagon.

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Figure 9. P08 Navy, serial number 135, left receiver proofs. Pentagon. The proofs are well defined and the crown is tight to the “M”.

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Figure 10. P08 Navy, serial number 135, bottom of barrel. Note: there is no proof on the bottom of the barrel.




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Figure 10.1. 1917 Navy, serial number 1040, left receiver proofs. Pentagon.



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Figure 10.2. 1917 Navy, serial number 8958, left receiver proofs. Pentagon.


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Figure 11. 1917 Navy, serial number not available, left receiver proofs. Pentagon. The proofs are well defined and the crown is tight to the “M”. (Volume I, page 11)





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Above, top, photographs of correct proofs for a 1916/1917 dated Navy. Pentagon. The crown is tight to the "M"

Above, bottom photographs of the proofs on a replica 1916 Navy. The crown floats above the M. (From Lukes archive)







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Figure 12. Replica 1904 Navy, serial number 48, barrel proof.

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Figure 13. Replica 1904 Navy, serial number 48, proof above lanyard.

Tom Armstrong presented photographs showing 1904 Navy, serial number 48, in the process of being manufactured. Note: the crown is jammed down into the M and the crown leans slightly to the left.
 

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Here are pictures of inspector stamps and proofs on DWM 1917 Navy serial# 8958 (no suffix), all matching. There are no unit or station marks. Taken together, the characteristics of this pistol indicate that it is riteous.
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Closeup of the left-receiver inspector stamps and power proof.
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Serial# and under-barrel proof. It is difficult to tell, but it appears that these stamps exhibit a small amount of halo.
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For good measure, here is a closeup of the left-barrel mark...
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and the breechblock proof.
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All the detail pictures are to the same scale.

-Dwight
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Dwight
Thanks for the Navy proofs. They fit right in.
Jan
 

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1904 Navy's with the serial numbers of 2, 15, 61 & 94 also have the 3 lobe floating crown proofs. As Jan states above.

Mike Jones
 

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Mike
Many thanks for the information collected by your dad Harry Jones many years ago. He was always known for correct guns and information. I would highly recommend his book "Luger Variations"(1959). Your data has been added above.
Jan
 

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Hello Jan,

Great info. on Navy proofs...I have a few follow-up questions :

1. Are close up photos of the proofs on 1904 Navy # 136 available for posting...? C. Whittaker had them on his web site, but now that essay/study is no longer available on the site. I thought # 136 was intersting with it's proofs a bit out-of-sequence with other pistols preceeding and following # 136. What is the speculation regarding # 136 (i.e. why its proofs do not conform) ? Were the final pre-production factory "tweaks" still being worked out in the early 1904 run before the real 1906 production run began ?

2. Is there some agreed time frame/date or serial number at which the model 1906 Navy went from the 3-lobe Crown/M proof to the later pentagon Crown/M proof ? It appears that the model 1906 Navy started with the 3-lobe variety (as evidenced by # 790a and # 3004 that were posted). Or, did the entire run of model 1906 Navy lugers stay with the 3-lobe style ?...in which case, did the pentagon Crown/M proof only appear with the model 1908 Navy ?

3. Is it believed that the 3-lobe style Crown/M proof was hand stamped with two (2) separate stamps (i.e. one stamp for the 3-lobe crown and another stamp for the "M") ? I am speculating here, as the amount of "float" seems to vary amongst the photos showing the 3-lobed proofs. If the 3-lobe stamp was one (1) integral stamp, I would not think one would see the variance of the amount of "float" in terms of spatial orientation.

Thanks so much for your informative post and helping beginners, such as me, try to get this subtle topic of Navy proof variations straight in our minds...
 

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Jan,
Thank you for the kind words about Harry.
One thing I have noticed in recent years on 06 & 08 Navy's, is serial numbers recorded many years ago without unit markings have now appeared with rare to very rare markings.

Mike Jones
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Pete (Post updated with Garfield, 10/11 data)

Excellent questions, most of my answers will be in the forum of a progress report pending more data.

Pete asked “1. Are close up photos of the proofs on 1904 Navy # 136 available for posting...? C. Whittaker had them on his web site, but now that essay/study is no longer available on the site. I thought # 136 was intersting with it's proofs a bit out-of-sequence with other pistols preceeding and following # 136. What is the speculation regarding # 136 (i.e. why its proofs do not conform) ? Were the final pre-production factory "tweaks" still being worked out in the early 1904 run before the real 1906 production run began ?”

Pete
Chuck Whittaker is a student and expert on early Navy Lugers and has studied them (including no 136)in great detail. (I printed a copy of his article.) However it is copyrighted and the photographs and information that I used from his site are with his permission. I talked to him yesterday and he will repost the information on the earlier 1904 Navy variations on his site.
I have marginal quality photographs of the proofs on sn 136 . As near as I can tell, they do not conform exactly to either the early proofs or later proofs (as you stated). However, my data base is very limited. Dies wore out and edges broke and the stamp angle varied. Also the dies varied in size and the height of the crown above the M changed. I am trying to obtain sufficient photographs of correct Navy proofs, so collectors have an opportunity to make their own judgement when evaluating the proofs on a Navy Luger.
I am not looking for perfectly stamped proofs. I am trying to obtain the range of stamp variations. I want to give the collector an idea of what to expect on an original Navy Luger. For example, it is of interest that on some Navy Lugers, the feet on the M part of the proof are faint or non existent.
Perhaps some of the members that have Navy Lugers would help fellow collectors by posting photographs of their Navy Luger proofs. Be sure to indicate the model and serial number (partial with xx is OK).
Jan

Pete asked “2. Is there some agreed time frame/date or serial number at which the model 1906 Navy went from the 3-lobe Crown/M proof to the later pentagon Crown/M proof ? It appears that the model 1906 Navy started with the 3-lobe variety (as evidenced by # 790a and # 3004 that were posted). Or, did the entire run of model 1906 Navy lugers stay with the 3-lobe style ?...in which case, did the pentagon Crown/M proof only appear with the model 1908 Navy ?”

Pete
From the data obtained so far it appears that the change from the three lobe C/M Navy proof to the pentagon Crown/M Navy proof occurred between 1906 serial number 790a and 1906 serial number 7909a. Hopefully folks will supply more data to pin the transition serial range down.
Jan

Pete asked “Is it believed that the 3-lobe style Crown/M proof was hand stamped with two (2) separate stamps (i.e. one stamp for the 3-lobe crown and another stamp for the "M") ? I am speculating here, as the amount of "float" seems to vary amongst the photos showing the 3-lobed proofs. If the 3-lobe stamp was one (1) integral stamp, I would not think one would see the variance of the amount of "float" in terms of spatial orientation.”

Pete
I would check with Chuck to be certain, but as I recall from my conversation with him, he has determined (by comparing detailed photographs) that the C/M stamps on the early Navies have an integral “C” and “M” in a single stamp. All have the crown floating above the M. Certainly the photograph of several Navy C/M dies establishes that the later C/M proofs are stamped with dies that have an integral crown and M.
Jan

I will update the article as new data/information becomes available.
Jan
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Garfield
Thanks for the photographs. They have been added to the first post.
Jan
 

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Hello Jan,

A couple of more questions :

1. Is there some thought as to date/period when the "pentagon" crown went from the early type with the small vertical line in the upper- middle of the crown to the later type with the small circle in the upper-middle of the crown ?

2. Regarding bogus Model 1914 Navy's; is the counterfit smaller toggle pin flange always seen with the counterfit "floating" Crown/M proofs ? Have any small-flange guns with non-floating Crown/M proofs been reported ? (Another way of asking if a forger has made a better set of "Navy" die stamps...?)
 
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Jan;
After reading the talk on the three glope and the Pentagon's, I looked more close on my 1906 Navy. S/N 662a They are "Pentagon".
 

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1906 #7738

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1906 #1088A

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1908 #5747b

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1916 #354

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1917 #2350a HAS BEEN REFINISHED

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1920 #7757 COMMERCIAL

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All

Have been going over old navy posts in particular a 1914 dated 1917 and noticed a serial number 1040 belonging to a 1917 dated Navy.

I have the original magazine to the luger serial number 1040, this particular magazine bears the crown M stamp is correct and in the finest of shape.

The owner should get in touch with me to match these two authentic luger pieces up.

Am not sure of the owner but believe it to be Garfield.
 
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