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M1903 BROWNING, OTTOMAN

Between 1908 and 1914 the FN plant delivered approximately 8000 1903 Browning pistols to the Ottoman Empire. These bore the crest of Sultan Abdul Hamid II on top of the slide, a Farsi inscription meaning authority on its right side, a Farsi number indicating the contract serial number, and an Ottoman crescent and star on the back of the slide. These pistols went to the Ottoman police.




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Figure 1. M1903 Browning, Ottoman Empire contract, serial number 37089. Left side. It bears full Belgium commercial proofs.




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Figure 2. M1903 Browning, Ottoman Empire contract, serial number 37089. Right side.




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Figure 3. M1903 Browning, Ottoman Empire contract, serial number 37089. On top of the slide the Crest the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Abdul Hamid II. He was overthrown by the Young Turks in 1909 but retained a figure head status. His crest remained a symbol of state authority into the 1920's.




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Figure 4. M1903 Browning, Ottoman Empire contract, serial number 37089. Right side details. The Farsi inscription means authority. The Farsi number is the number reached in the Ottoman contract. This is number 7550 of the contract of 8000 pistols. These are rare in the United states.




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Figure 5. M1903 Browning, Ottoman Empire contract, serial number 37089. The back of the slide showing The Ottoman crescent and star on the back of the slide.

References: Still, Vol I, 1982
Vanderlinden, The Belgium Browning Pistols, 2001

Jan C Still
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Jan and Darryl: Got one with the correct original Belgian holster and 3 mags, e mail me if you want it, 85% + cond.

I have to correct your post, it is Turkish written with Arabic letters, not Farsi, which is Persian written with modified Arabic letters, and the young turks overthrew the Sultan in 1919-20 over the Greek-British invasion post WW 1.

The Arabs are mad, because we use their numbers, so some time in the past, they adopted the Hindu numbers...(which we call Farsi for some reason)

The holster is the embossed five pointed star pattern red leather, but not quite the same as the Sweedish model, looks like it, but it is slightly different from the usual red Swede model.

This pistol is still in 380 Brng Long, and AMN including the Bbl.....

One other thing, The crest is called the "Toghra" and is the "Seal of the Prophet" it is composed of arabic letters arranged artistically..I am no Arabic scholar, but I think the seal says "Allahu Akbar" or something similar. The writing on the side, using arabic letters, says in Turkish, "Abul Hamid II, war veteran and commander of the faithful" or something similar...The young turks ditched the Arabic Alphabet in the 20's, and the litteracy rate went way up with the German Alphabet....

Dale in Ala

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Dale
Thanks for the new information and corrections:
You said “I have to correct your post, it is Turkish written with Arabic letters, not Farsi, which is Persian written with modified Arabic letters, and the young turks overthrew the Sultan in 1919-20 over the Greek-British invasion post WW 1.”

Am I missing something here. Your last statement concerning the overthrow of the Sultan is contradicted by the following references.

My information on the overthrow of the Sultan is from the Book “The Western Heritage” by Easton, 1961, page 535. (University of Washington text) “The young Turks, who had gained much influence in the Army, formed a successful revolution in 1908, and compelled the uncooperative Sultan to abdicate a year later.” ...Nevertheless, the secular state achieved by Turkey after World War I under Mustapha Kemal was an outgrowth of their work.”
The following information is from the following link http://killeenroos.com/4/Turkeyre.htm “For the first time in history an elected body dismissed a sultan of the line of Osman. Abdulhamid's successor, Mehmed v (1909-18), furthermore, was permitted only to be a figurehead. The Ottoman house still reigned, but it no longer ruled.”

The last sentence explains why the Sultans crest remained on the Browning pistols ordered after the Sultan abdicated.

You said “The writing on the side, using arabic letters, says in Turkish, "Abul Hamid II, war veteran and commander of the faithful" or something similar.”

This is contradicted by a number of references including Still Volume I page 69-75 and Vanderlinden, The Belgium Browning Pistols 1889-1949, 2001. These state that the right side Farsi inscription means “Authority”

I am in the process of updating Volume I and would very much appreciate details, sources, and additional information on your corrections.
Thanks
Jan
 

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Jan; Look at Gasior's site he has the translated legend, on his bayonet list and referring to a Turk Pistol. I could be wrong on the Sultan, but I suspect the Legend dies would have been cut in Belgium and and expensive to remove the engraving and restamp the new sultans' claim.. I had the Turk Student Pilots at Fort Rucker in the 60's and they told me that they used the Arabic Alphabet to write the Turkish until 1924 or so, then they used the German Alphabet thereafter. According to Kris Gasior, he has actually consulted with a Turk who could read the old script, and he told me what it said literally, which is a think a claim of authority based on lineage etc....I think the Histrory Channel may have screewed me up on the Sultans, but I know that the younger one used the Toghra as his seal, and that the seal was very old, and not of Turkish origin, rather it was some sort of Arab device, used in place of icongraphic representation,because Islamic Law forbids representation of any living thing as art...graven images and all that, so they use fanciful images, created by using letters of the Arabic Alphabet.

In any case I was always told by Turks that the Toghra was from Saudi Arabia, and the legend on the side of the weapons was a claim of authority based on lineage and status...Hope this helps.....

Dale in Ala
 

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Dale
I am not familiar with Gasior's site. Do you have a link?
Jan
 

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Dale
You stated "I have to correct your post..." and ,"Look at Gasior's site he has the translated legend, on his bayonet list and referring to a Turk Pistol."

I searched Gasior's site and did not find anything about the 1903 Browning Ottoman inscriptions. I contacted Kristopher Gasions by E-Mail. His return E- Mail is below:

"Ian,
Nice to hear from you again! I am not sure what is this collector referring to......"

Is Kristopher Gasions the site that you are referring to. If not please direct me to the correct site or the correct information. Below is some background on the provenance of the information presented by me in the original post above concerning the inscriptions.

The information presented by me above concerning the Ottoman Browning 1903 inscriptions was presented in the book “The Pistols of Germany and its Allies in Two World Wars (Volume I)” published in 1982, more than 20 years ago. The original reference is “Mathews Firearms Identification” page 586. Reviewers and collectors pounce on mistakes in published books and do not hesitate to inform the author of them.

I have not had any contrary comments on the Ottoman Browning 1903 inscriptions in these many years and the book (Volume I) has been sold the world over (including collectors in Turkey). The inscription information presented in Volume I was reaffirmed by Vanderlinden, in his book “The Belgium Browning Pistols 1889-1949", published in 2001.

Until you can provide a reliable reference to your claims, I will have to rely on the information presented in “Mathews Firearms Identification”, “The Pistols of Germany and its Allies in Two World Wars (Volume I)” and in “The Belgium Browning Pistols 1889-1949".

If the information in any of my books is incorrect I want to know so I can correct it (Axis Pistols has 24 pages of corrections and updates.). However, please provide detailed references so the information can be verified.
Thanks
Jan
 

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Dale
I owe you an apology. I found the following in the bayonet section of Kristopher Gasions site.
"Arabic markings on the blade and on the grip, including "Tughra" of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. No scabbard. Turkish half-crescent and star are present on all....."
There is no additional information and apparentally Kristopher Gasions is not interested in discussing the subject. Thanks for the information.
Jan
 

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Jan I am sorry, it was a Turk Pistol like the one we are discussing, but it was some time ago, and he may have sold it, and deleted the info. In any case I remember because my pistol was in better shape, and I called him to see if he wanted it. He passed on it because it took so long to sell the first one. I am sure about the Seal of the Phrophet, because the Student Pilots I trained at Fort Rucker told me about it--I showed them a bayonet, and they explained to the reason why the Sultan used that crest, and how they changed their alphabet in the 1920's....

Dale in Ala
 

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FYI, if ever anyone would like to translate Turkish writen in the old Arabic alphabet, you may wish to look for an Iranian Turk. There are alot of them who speak Turkish and all of them are familure with the Arabic alphabet which is still used in Iran.

Best regards,
Greg
 

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Dale
A second E-Mail from Kristopher Gasior concerning the information on his webb site concerning Turkish crests and the source of the information. "List of Turkish Sultan Tughras can be found in hundreds of books dealing with Turkish culture and civilization."

If anyone has one of these books handy or has access to one please look up the crests on the top and right side of the 1903 Brownings.
Thanks
Jan
 

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Jan: Thanks for the good info on your site, I have been waiting for years for someone to straighten all this out, not just Turk Brownings, but all the other pistols you have covered here.....If I did not have an annoyingly persistant memory, I would not have started this controversy, but some things stick in my files!!! I will try my off line sources for the Turkish incriptions, and if anything turns up, I will post it here.
BTW: I will post the pix of my Turk in couple of days, just as soon as my camera guy gets here on Sat to make the files!

Dale in Ala
 

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Jan and guys: Mine is 37912 on the Belgian Number, 7600 on the Farsi numbers and AMN inside. I will try to get the pictures up soon.....

Dale in Ala
 

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Nolle
Thanks for the information. SN added to book data base.
Jan
 

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Nolle
Thanks for the information. SN added to book data base.
Jan
 
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