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Gentlemen:

My name is James Julia and my auction firm recently has been extremely fortunate in having been chosen by Doug Smith to handle his extraordinary collection of Lugers at auction. Session I will take place this Monday, October 6th. Someone brought my attention to your site and mentioned that a couple of questions had popped up regarding one or more of Doug’s guns.

My auction company consists of various divisions which have specialty auctions. One is rare glass and lamps, one is fine art and furnishings and one of my divisions is rare firearms. My firearms division is the largest of all of my divisions. In fact, in recent years we have been fortunate to have conducted some of the largest grossing firearms auctions ever held in history. Our last one did $12.7, the one before did $11.2, etc.

We produce color illustrated catalogs with detailed photos and descriptions of all of the lots we offer and this same catalog is available for viewing on our website at www.juliaauctions.com. Honesty and fair descriptions is a goal of our company and it is the sincere intention of myself and my staff to produce accurate descriptions on the various lots that we sell. In fact, we are unique in the gun auction world in that we guarantee our descriptions. All other auctioneers begin their conditions of sale with “as is, where is”. That is not the case with us. If you buy a gun and there is a significant problem with it that has a major affect upon the value and you notify us within 45 days of the auction, we will cancel the sale and refund the money. So not only is our goal to be honest, but were bound by our guarantee to make sure that descriptions are fair and honest. In order to acquire a fair amount of scholarly knowledge in representing any of our goods, we employ a number of consultants to consult with and provide catalog descriptions. My expertise is not in guns or Tiffany lamps, etc., it’s in marketing and promoting of a client’s good. However I utilize people whom I consider to be extremely knowledgeable and also of good moral and ethical character.

Doug’s collection is an extraordinary collection for both rarity and quality. Those few individuals who have been fortunate enough to peruse all or part of his collection will agree with this statement. In addition to having known Doug for many, many years, I have come to realize that he is both extraordinarily knowledgeable about Lugers and also incredibly honest; two factors which I consider extremely important.

We were extremely pleased to acquire Doug’s collection for auction because of the significance of the collection and because we know that for the most part, that the things that he selected and retained in his collection are the some of the finest genuine examples that he’s seen over the period of his lifetime.

Describing antiques and collectibles is a difficult and challenging experience and I have never yet, in all my years, met a person who was perfect and knew everything and was never wrong (I’ve met a couple that thought they were). Consequently, I know that regardless of how great the expertise is that I utilize for cataloging things, there is bound to be a mistake, oversight or problem. To that extent, if there is truly a misrepresentation or a proven mistake and we are notified before the auction, we will make a correction and post it beside the gun on display, note it in the auctioneer’s catalog so it will be announced at the time of sale and in addition, contact every single absentee bidder and phone bidder who is bidding on that lot and notify them of the problem. It’s not a perfect system but it is a sincere attempt at making it as good as possible.

For Doug’s collection of Lugers, the first line of information essentially came from Doug himself. Doug is a walking fountain of knowledge and as we listed the various guns, Doug recited some important particulars about that gun which we made notes of. Later, when the guns were reviewed and descriptions partially prepared by Brad Simpson, also a well known, knowledgeable and I consider, very ethical scholar on Lugers. When these notes were compiled the final descriptions were prepared by Mr. J.R. LaRue, my chief consultant for the firearms division. J.R. has worked with us for many, many years and during that time has appraised and/or cataloged hundreds of thousands of guns.

To date, in reading the various blogs, my staff noted three different guns that were discussed with the possibility of inaccuracies.


  • The first is lot 1067: DWM Stoeger American Eagle Luger, August Weiss Parts Gun. One very knowledgeable blogger who has seen the gun notes (in your blog) that the barrel on our gun, numbered 418, was actually the barrel on one of the 125 guns shipped to Stoeger in May of 1930. He indicated that the barrel is 4” long and 7.65 mm caliber. However, this is not so. I’m not sure how the confusion occurred, but the gun is exactly as cataloged in our description. The gun barrel is numbered 418, and it is most definitely caliber 9 mm. In fact, it is stamped on the underside of the barrel, “8.83”. Other than the barrel, nothing else carries a serial number. The gun was made from parts, brought into this country by Weis in the 1930’s, not the 1920’s as in the catalog description. The gun is as stated in our description; both our firm and Doug Smith guarantee this gun to be as represented.
  • Lot 1057: Scarce DWM Luger Dated 1912 Identified to Grenadier Regiment with Holster Rig. One blogger questioned the genuineness of this lot. This is absolutely not the case. The gun is genuine; however the cataloger’s did make a mistake in preparing the catalog description here. Doug had given us some information about the two magazines and those notes had been overlooked in the preparation of the catalog. The gun is correct, however both magazines are not. One is the correct type commercial magazine with newly stamped serial number, the second magazine is the correct type body and it has a replaced wood base and a newly stamped serial number. This correction has or will be noted on our website and will be announced at the time of sale, etc. However, the gun is definitely as cataloged, we guarantee it and both our firm and Doug Smith stand behind it 100%. We are sincerely sorry and apologize for the error about the magazines and I am very grateful for someone drawing our attention to that lot.
  • The last Lot 1034: Ultra-Rare DWM 1906 Russian Contract Luger. We know there has been, for some time, a great deal of discussion amongst collectors regarding this model and about its markings. Doug Smith contends that the crossed rifles on the top of the chamber are rolled before finished like on a 1906 eagle. This lot is exactly as we have cataloged it and both our firm and Doug Smith guarantee this lot not only in regards to the description we have put forth, but also for the condition.
I hope that my notes here have been helpful and I would also hope that anyone of you that might discover a definite error or misrepresentation about any lot in our catalog would contact us. We would be grateful to hear from you. Our e-mail address is [email protected] and our phone number is (207) 453-7125. I want to thank you in advance for anyone who might have any future information for us and I also want to thank all of those who pointed out these questions which I have addressed above.

Sincerely,



Jim Julia
 

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Jim Julia
Thanks for your reply. First a brief comment concerning the collectors on this Forum. Among their numbers are World class collector/experts that have exposed fakes and confirmed correct pistols. In some cases, such determinations are limited by the quality of the photographs. A hands on examination is necessary in some cases.

I was involved in lot number 1057, the unit marked 1912 DWM, and wish to correct my comments. I agree that the gun is a genuine 1912 DWM.
In question, are the unit markings on the top and front strap. As your photographs are superior to the 2005 photographs, on reexamination I would estimate that these markings appear identical to those on page 137 of Imperial Lugers and are most likely correct (however, the weapons number (15) is not per regulations).
Magazines for a correct 1912 DWM bear only the serial number on the bottom stamped in small numbers across the long axis of the magazine bottom (see page 35 Central Powers Pistols). The magazines included with this Luger are easy to spot fakes with Erfurt style acceptance stamps and large serial numbers along the long axis of the magazine. I appreciate that Doug’s notes indicating such have been included. Doug Smith has an outstanding collector/dealer reputation, probably the best in the World.

I will let the members involved comment on lot numbers 1067 and 1034.

I very much appreciate your concerns for correct descriptions.
Thanks
Jan
 

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Jim, I realize that you are an auction / gun guy and not a computer person. Just to be correct, a "blog" is a written continuation by a single person. This is called a forum and people "post" threads and posts in a thread.


Just so you are aware.

Also, many of us are personal friends with Doug, knowing him personally, his reputation is extremly high and his collection is world wide known (within the luger collecting community) and I'd expect comments to be generated on guns in the auction. This is a plus for you, as your reputation is also known in the community and is in my opinion a very favorable one.


Ed
 

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Mr James Julia

Thankyou for your recent responses to lot number 1057, for the record when this 1912 was originally brought forth on the Gunboards forum a few years back I argued in favour of the luger itself not the magazines.

When an auction site with such prominence as your firm discloses information about an equally prominent collectors goods the word provenance carries a significant amount of weight. Mr Doug Smith is revered to be an outstanding man of integrity and knowledge but his name alone does not establish provenance on a particular pistol, in the case of the 1912 DWM luger with the rare Grenadier regiment marking his name alone would only carry provenance had he been associated to the Grenadier regiment himself, thus my comment that your firm should review its practices on the word provenance.

As Mr Jan C Still has pointed out this forum in my opinion has some of the most outstanding world class luger collectors that care to take the time or better yet have the means to respond to a thread about a particular pistol, I applaud any man that posts photographs or information about his pistol for public scrutiny, your comment that not everyone is perfect is very true and most serious collectors will admit when they stand corrected on a point of fact.

In closing I do hope that Mr Smith and all the other consignors attain the highest value for their respective goods that the market will bear on your upcoming auction.
 

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The gun was made from parts, brought into this country by Weis in the 1930’s, not the 1920’s as in the catalog description.
I have very, very sincere doubts that August Weiss, working as a pistol production foreman for Mauser in the 1930s and early 40s had anything to do with the export of this particular pistol to the USA.

We know that Weiss had guns assembled from left-over contract parts for various purposes, either as local 'gift guns' to Mauser workers or as protection against looters to local farmers during the war. The gun discussed most likely falls into one of these categories. Stating as a 'fact' that Weiss was involved in it's export would require a considerable reliable checkable paper trail.

In fact, this is my personal opinion about many of the descriptions. I don't doubt the guns, but many of the descriptions must simply be backed by proper documentation in order to have a certain validity. Adding inscriptions to commercial guns was a service that every mail order catalogue offered and the fact that some inscriptions may match those of well-known public figures is just plain and simple 'chance', worthless without decent provenance.

A very nice inscribed gun without provenance is just that: A very nice inscribed gun. Period.

Just my opinion, with the sincerest respect for the Auctioneer and Doug Smith.
 

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I am a bit confused following the August Weiss info.

Was Weiss living in the USA and he "imported" parts into the USA...???...:confused:

Wording from the auction ad :

" This pistol was assembled from parts imported by August Weiss in the 1920's and is a very rare, possibly one of a kind example in near mint condition. "
 

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Pete,
I think that the wording is awkward. It probably should read "...sent into this country...". Like Gerben, I doubt that Weiss had anything to do directly with the export process other than perhaps assembling the parts to fill the order.
 

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Gents,

As I believe that I started the discussion about the description of this pistol I feel urged to react again. These are the facts:

- Pistols 400v - 524v (125) came from DWM to Mauser on May 1 1930.
- As I know now these were 'in the white' - but they had been test proofed and accordingly stamped with the Crown/N stamp in Berlin.
- August Weiss writes in three of the letters I could study recently that he took this pistols 'with him'. The first order that August Weiss (who came also on the 1st of May 1930 from Berlin to Oberndorf) had to attend to was a shipment of 10 pistols to A.F. Stoeger in New York. He assembled, polished and blued #515v to #524v. These arrived early August in New York.
- A part of the remaining lot of 115 pistols (#400v - #514v) have been assembled according to the orders which were received from Stoeger. These orders were halted in 1933 due to the great depression (and the devaluation of the Dollar) that caused a severe rupture in Stoeger's Luger sales.
- The pistols that had been exported to Stoeger before 1934 can be recognized by the word 'GENUINE' which is (non lined) stamped left of the line of text that is present on the right rail of the frame.
- Many pistols remained unsold at that moment - Mauser sold them four years later (1937); partly to their agent Rahmani in Haïfa (Palestine) and also to other parties yet unknown. Anyway; these pistols can be recognized at the fact that the word 'GENUINE' is not present left of the line of text on the right frame rail.
- Somewhere in 1939 Mauser decided to finish the stock of the remaining frames, toggle trains and receivers that came from DWM - all but a few Crown/N proofed - and assembled a lot of 25 pistols serialized between 8725v and 8750v. Some Sn's do not have the 'v' suffix on the frame. This is a difficult to understand variation - a few were reported from Israel in 1984 - but most of them might have been sold in Germany.
- It is indeed possible that Mauser sold one or more pistols from the #400v - 515v range also at this (1939) moment - which might explain that #418v - the pistol in question here - does not have the the usual serialization on the frame.
- Anyway - as all pistols within this range came with 98 mm 7.65 mm barrels from DWM to Mauser, only a very few pistols have been reported having a 4" 9 mm barrel (which must have been mounted by Mauser): #400v - #418v - #461v and #469v; making it indeed a rare variation.

The issue of August Weiss having been in the U.S.A.
After studying Mr. Weiss' personal correspondence I dare say that he has never been in the U.S.A. He went (for the Mauser Company) to the Netherlands and to Portugal. In both cases these trips were necessary to solve problems that occurred in these countries because the ammunition which these countries had bought at Hirtenberger (Austria) caused severe problems due to the low gas pressure of these cartridges; the pistols did not repeat properly.
 
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