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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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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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.
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Jan
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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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