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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know this thread will probably be a can of worms and part of me feels bad for being so critical of a dead man, but Hitler has it much worse. I feel that death does not immunize anyone from criticism, no matter what level of crime one has committed in their lifetime...

I'm talking about the rumor that Ralph Shattuck faked 1945 Krieghoffs and sold them as originals using his own die stamps.

In this video by Legacy Collectibles, at 59:09 Tom Whiteman states:

"There are '45 Krieghoffs -- I personally think they're fake because a man -- I know his name but I'm not going to give it -- a man who made them when he passed away, they went into his workshop and found all the dies for the 1945 Krieghoff. It's possible they made originals but it's also possible that the majority of them are fake and therefore I don't want to own a '45; I'm not sure they're real. But they could be... if you own one then you're going to insist they are real because you spent $30,000-$50,000 to get one..."

I really appreciate Tom saying this, but I can't help but to speculate who this guy was. This is more than just shady business; this is fraud. Did Ralph Shattuck do this?
 

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This is on the iffy side of a posting and yes, I just approved it.
I will watch this thread - if folks have proof of something, say so. BUT you have no proof and yet called Ralph a fraudster. Tread lightly folks - because otherwise a slew of what-ifs and maybes always spring from posts like this.

No, Ralph Shattuck did not do this - Ralph had thousands of good lugers roll through his place, but he also associated with some folks who liked to make them pretty, and I believe that Ralph turned a blind eye to 'very pretty' or 'rare' specimens. Out and out fraud, some folks say yes, others say no.

There are a number of fraudsters, word gets passed around, but most are rumours or guesses, few have a lot of facts, but are most likely true. NOW, should we publicly declare some folks are frauds? I'd love that, but almost always happens to be, "I heard that......"

I have several "I have heard that"...
1. After Weimar Lugers was published, a number of 'rare' fully intact police lugers appeared, or so I was told by Jan Still.
2. The story above of the 45 lugers. I know what Tom said, he has said it to me, but another well known expert on Kriegs, said he believed in a few 1945 Krieghoffs, that they were likely made for GI's (?? but I can't remember).
3. There was a well known south american that made up very rare lugers
4. Actually, the story I heard of the dies that were found were not date stamps, but something else. This was from a collector that went to a persons house after they died.
 

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Well, I strongly believe a certain dealer, a certain gun smith and a certain gun author worked together to 'create' collectable fakes for uneducated collectors. And they were not unique at this. Whenever there is a market, people will try to profit from it one way or another. I have spent almost 5 years researching a mass theft of government firearms by (ex)board members of the oldest collectors club in my own country, and found many shady deals in the process.

Shattuck sold nice guns to knowledgeable collectors and was shovelling crap towards uneducated collectors.
The manufacturer was someone else, again, who made nice reproductions for collectors and created crap for a quick buck, or just the fun of pulling one over on so-called 'experts' of the day. That also happens. Both were backed by an author who would write about them, fuelling further confusion.

I spoke to a known faker in the classic car world and asked why he was doing what he did. He said it would be of great satisfaction to see one of his fakes in a renowned publication. Somehow, some people just have a pathological need to 'prove' themselves over the back of others. A good psychologist can probably explain this better.

But, these guys are dead, and their legacy (sorry Tom) is something we have to deal with. We may never know the full truth about what drove them, but it's undeniable they had a dark side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for approving this, Edward. I am fairly new to collecting Lugers and was always curious about this... it's quite mysterious to me.
 

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My first dealing with Ralph was an eye opener. I wanted an Artillery Luger and Ralph had one; all matching, 1914 Erfurt. I bought it and upon receiving it knew right away that he'd stretched the truth. The side plate and locking bolt were replacements and there was some cold blue touchup on the breechblock. The extractor had been replaced too and wouldn't ride over the rim of a cartridge because the tail was too thick and bottomed out. This was June, 1994. I called Ralph who obviously had taken me for a novice. He was apologetic and offered to take it back. For some reason - the price was OK - I decided to keep it. It's unit marked to the 51st Reserve Artillery Regiment and later I bought a second Erfurt LP.08 unit marked to the same regiment. The second one is genuinely matching and original.

Later I bought a couple more Lugers from Ralph and he was careful to be scrupulously honest with me. Clearly he remembered our first transaction.
 

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Well, I strongly believe a certain dealer, a certain gun smith and a certain gun author worked together to 'create' collectable fakes for uneducated collectors. And they were not unique at this. Whenever there is a market, people will try to profit from it one way or another. I have spent almost 5 years researching a mass theft of government firearms by (ex)board members of the oldest collectors club in my own country, and found many shady deals in the process.

Shattuck sold nice guns to knowledgeable collectors and was shovelling crap towards uneducated collectors.
The manufacturer was someone else, again, who made nice reproductions for collectors and created crap for a quick buck, or just the fun of pulling one over on so-called 'experts' of the day. That also happens. Both were backed by an author who would write about them, fuelling further confusion.

I spoke to a known faker in the classic car world and asked why he was doing what he did. He said it would be of great satisfaction to see one of his fakes in a renowned publication. Somehow, some people just have a pathological need to 'prove' themselves over the back of others. A good psychologist can probably explain this better.

But, these guys are dead, and their legacy (sorry Tom) is something we have to deal with. We may never know the full truth about what drove them, but it's undeniable they had a dark side.
Are you allowed to identify the Author who would write about the fakes?
 

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My first purchased Luger was from Ralph, over fifty years ago, when dealing in Lugers was a sidelight to his real job. I didn't know better and kept the mismatched LP08. But he did get me to join NAPCA. A few years later, he was a gracious host who invited to his hotel room for a drink during my first OGCA Show in Columbus. We went out to dinner to a steak house frequented by others from the show. He covered his thick slice of roast beef with catsup. Different strokes for different folks. Years later I watched he and Sam start the World of Lugers and market Erma SEL f. P08 boxes and other flim-flam. I bought one. The wood was so new it warped in a few days. He and Sam came to a few of the NAPCA Conventions held in St. Louis. He was a gregarious salesman, successful at his first job and a great success hustling Lugers. I imagine he knew Lugers because of the volume that passed through his hands. But I doubt if he ever bothered to consider any research into their history and development. I don't think it interested him.
 

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To address the 1945 HK question .

We are really talking the high 12,000 and low 13,000 range guns and some are dated 1944 also .
If you want to believe these are real you would have to believe HK tooled up from scratch in late 1944 to build a couple hundred obsolete guns .
These guns are not made of HK parts .

Then you would need to figure out why the postwar guns are indeed made up of HK parts .
Look at the thread about 2 serial number 200 postwar HK's .
Pretty obvious what one is real and the real one shows the poor grips-thin bluing on barrel etc that is normal on honest late guns .

Does it really matter now who or where as we are stuck with them and Simpsons had a 1945 not that long ago $50,000.00 asking and if sold quick .

Nuff said (n)
 

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I agree with your assessment Roy. I try to dislike Ralph, but he was always very nice to me. We were on the way from my FIL's funeral and I stopped by his house to pick up a luger - enroute and I thought why not. Very gracious, made my wife feel at ease and she needed that. Never forgot his care and concern. Anyway, I'm leery if I hear it came through him, but I also bought Ralph's 1926 Simson he had on his wall. When It came up for auction, I bought it.
 

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This careful topic reminds me of a discussion I recently had with a pretty established collector on the "continuum" of "force matching." Let's say you had a pretty late suffix byf 41 and only one trashed aluminum bottomed magazine and the wood grips were tired. Slap on black bakelite grips and add two bakelite/FXO magazines, and an appropriate tool and holster and you got a full BW rig ($$$)! Did you stretch the truth? Or, did you pull a complete fabrication/fake? How about having an all matching 40/42 save the side plate, but you find a side plate from a different 40/42 with the same number and switch it out. A mis-matched toggle pin? So you replace with an unmarked armorer's replacement. Voila, now you have an all matching Luger. Grind and re-stamp a magazine bottom = forgery. I'm too much of a novice to paint with a broad brush, and I did not know the person in the OP, but have heard stories. But I am old enough to see gray areas and continuums of mild deceit vs. full-on fakery.

What really resonates with me is that some of this reality stretches vs. complete forgeries were done decades ago and the Lugers may have changed owners several times, further blurring the lines.
 

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30 years ago I was searching for a Navy Luger. An elderly man in the area had one but it was pretty and he wanted a pretty hefty price for it. He said he had bought it from Ralph Shattuck.
I told a dealer I knew who specialized in Lugers about the pistol and when I mentioned the elderly gentleman said he'd gotten it from Shattuck his reply was two words ... "bad news".
 

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Wasn't Ralph responsinle for the 9mm Carbine ?
Harry, Ralph gained notoriety by "discovering" a 45 cal. carbine (the so called "Million Dollar Luger") in an anonymous ranch house in Montana. Prior to that there were rumors circulating that Ralph was not on the up and up, but that was the final straw. Jan Still called him out on the original Luger Forum which outraged the forum's owner, who was a close friend of Ralph's, and Jan was invited to leave and "start his own forum", this one.
That is the story I heard from a member who was deeply involved in this incident and was asked to leave with Jan.
Norm
 

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Harry, Ralph gained notoriety by "discovering" a 45 cal. carbine (the so called "Million Dollar Luger") in an anonymous ranch house in Montana. Prior to that there were rumors circulating that Ralph was not on the up and up, but that was the final straw. Jan Still called him out on the original Luger Forum which outraged the forum's owner, who was a close friend of Ralph's, and Jan was invited to leave and "start his own forum", this one.
That is the story I heard from a member who was deeply involved in this incident and was asked to leave with Jan.
Norm
I believe Ron Wood examined it several years ago. I'm not going to put words in Ron's mouth, so maybe he will chime in here to clarify with he saw.
 

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An interesting thread. I'm not going to comment on Ralph, as I never purchased anything from him, and I only met him once briefly.

I will say this to all those who are commenting or reading this thread with speculation about fraud. In case you aren't aware of it already, do a search for the "Champagne SS Scam". There is even a You Tube video about it. It's long but watch it all. If you don't believe fraud is real, you need to watch it. And I will also say this type of stuff happens on all areas of collecting. Not just helmets.

Matt:cool:
 

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HK 1941 "Large Date" #11278, fake. US 1902 Test #22409, fake. '20 alphabet w/ "Lithuania Crest, fake. 1899 Swiss (examined at Phoenix GS), fake.
These are documented, I have no idea how many others are out there.
rc
 
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