The Infamous Fritz Sauckel's Attractive Engraved Walther PP
Show of Shows Follow-Up
Hey guys, welcome to well almost walk-in Wednesday. It's going to be like a walk-in Wednesday because I'm going to focus on one gun but it's actually a follow-up to the Show of Shows in Louisville. I just did a series of videos where we went day-by-day through what I saw at the Show of Shows but there was one gun in particular that stands out. I mean of my last five trips, I would say don't beat this one gun that I picked up.
Actually here's how I reacted when I walked up to the table and saw this gun.
Tom's Reaction: Oh I see some Walthers here, I love Walthers. He's got some beautiful Walthers I'm going to see if we can negotiate a price but one thing that jumps out at me, maybe you can hold that up for me, look at this engraved Walther PP.
I was Super Excited!
I know I was really as excited as Howard Dean if you don't get that reference from history. So as you might have guessed I actually did buy the gun. You saw it briefly at the show, we'll look at it in a little more detail.
And let me unpack a little bit what he was saying because we have a little more time to kind of think through this. Also, he was speaking off-the-cuff, did a great job but let me unpack this a little bit. Literally I'm going to unpack it.
An Original Walther Presentation Case
But first let's start off with the case because we have to open up the case. The case is an original Walther presentation case. These are very very rare, in fact, people contact me all the time and say if you ever find one I'll pay whatever you want. Generally, the case itself will go for about $5,000, although maybe the sky is the limit. This is an original brown, they also came in a mustard color, I don't have one to show you. But I do have, this is a red presentation case same thing from the Walther Factory; this happens to be a silver engraved, we're not talking about this gun today but I wanted you to see the case so you recognize the original Walther cases.
Now they also make a Walther blue case, most of you, many of you have seen this one. Because this is post-war; so the post-war cases again Walther banner, this fits a PP or PPK and these are only about...I used to get them all the time, not all the time, I used to see them frequently on eBay and they would go anywhere from $300 - $500. It's getting harder and harder to find them but don't mistake this as a World War II presentation. This is post-war and sells for a lot less than the originals.
Let’s talk about Fritz Sauckel a Bit
So back to the gun itself. Joe mentioned that this looks like a Fritz Sauckel presentation PP. And here's the reason he said that. First of all, let's take a look at Fritz Sauckel. He was the Department of Labor basically in charge of slave labor throughout Germany during the war. He came into that role in 1942 and served through the end of the war and actually was executed, he was hung at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946.
Before he became the head of the Slave Labor Department he was actually the Gauleiter or the group leader of the province where the Walther Factory was located. And when he took on this new role sometime in around 1942, the Walther Factory actually in a presentation in the public square, they basically gave him the keys to the city or something equivalent to that and they presented him with an engraved Walther.
A really Special Gun
Now this Walther actually sold some time ago in Germany. You can see how deeply engraved it is. It's a real special gun, in fact, the only ones that I've seen that are equivalent to this one that was Hitler's gun and Himmler's gun also had the same deep engraving. The condition of this gun as you can see has deteriorated quite a bit. Maybe it was hidden somewhere in a basement because you can see how badly it has deteriorated but you get an idea of how beautiful it was.
So this is documented to have been presented to Fritz during the war and you can see on the back there's a swastika and it's a similar style to the one that I picked up. I believe this gun sold in the neighbourhood of about $40,000 at that time. So especially presented in our video on slave labor, we talked about the bribes that were paid and the gifts that were given. And so Fritz was actually known as giving out engraved Walther PPs in particular. He gave out somewhere between 5 and 10 fully engraved Walther PPs.
Here is a gun that Fritz gave out and it was sold on the Internet
Now again we have a video about and we show that he gave out Walther PPs with just an inscription on the top, but Fritz Sauckel gave out fully engraved guns like this one. And let me show you one that actually has sold on the Internet. If you take a look there was always a banner across the top, in this case, this was an SS officer whose name was Wilheim Keppler and underneath that banner is the signature Fritz Sauckel. One other characteristic is you see ivory grips and then a little disc, an oval disc with the name of the person that it was engraved to.
Why we believe this was given out by Fritz
So that leads me to why Joe and I believe that this is a Fritz Sauckel presentation. It is nickel-plated with a gold wash which I've said before, it literally washes off very easily, in fact, every time I handle it, it takes a little more off, so we don't want to handle it very much. And you can see that same ribbon across the top and instead of Fritz Sauckel underneath it, there is the name of somebody, Carl Goertz or Goetz.
Has to be the name of either a German citizen who got the gun from the original recipient or from a GI who captured it and brought it home. I would say slam dunk it had to be the GI but in this case the name is so German that I have to reserve the right to say it could have been a German citizen. But what he meticulously did, is he, from the ribbon you can see that he removed the inscription and he removed Fritz Sauckel's signature underneath. So very well done, very tastefully done and he put his own name there instead. Who wouldn't? But it does hurt the value a little bit in that it's not in the original condition.
Let’s look at a Second Gun
So checking out this oval we see the initials which is pretty common with the Sauckel guns that he would always have this oval and the initials of the person or the name of the person it was presented to. In this case, it could be Julius Schaub who was an adjutant to Adolf Hitler and that's just total speculation, there are other J.S’s. it could be but that is one possible candidate. The magazine is a gold wash, probably added later because it's in pristine condition as opposed to the gun which is less than pristine. And then you can see there's another magazine, same condition as the first maybe they're both original, I just can't say for sure. But then we see this white bottom and as Joe pointed out this is not ivory like the grips but rather it is a very rare presentation bottom for a Walther PP.
What was Fritz’s Budget like?
Okay so the only remaining question again in review, Fritz had a higher budget than [inaudible 07:53] because you can see that he gave out a much more expensive and ornate gun than did. So he'd like to spend the money but he also had access to a lot of money due to the whole slave labor situation.
Another Question that always Pops Up!
But the other question that always comes up with engraved guns and if you have an engraved gun and you think it might be factory engraved, it's certainly pre-1946. There are engraved guns after the war, Walther set up again in the city of Ohm because people ask me why didn't he just set up at the original factory? It's because it was in the Russian sector, they blew up the factory and seized all the assets. So he re-established his company in the late 50s in the city of Ohm which was in the West German section. So when you find an engraved gun that is pre-war or wartime, of course, you want to know is it factory engraved.
Well in the United States if I get an engraved colt I always want to know, no matter how nice it looks, are we sure it was factory engraved as opposed to somebody who can replicate the original factory engraving. And of course, you call the colt archives and they will print out a letter saying whether or not it’s factory engraved. We can't do that with Walther or Mauser or Kreigoff because the records were generally all destroyed. There are no records of who these guns went to and which ones were factory engraved, which ones were RZM.
We can verify with a Database
But we have researchers Marshall in Germany he has a database, as do I. Over the past 30 years I've been collecting data and I have about twenty thousand PP and PPK serial numbers and from that we get a pretty good idea, in fact, I would say I can emphatically state that when we see a solid block of engraved guns and this one if we look at the serial number it is 109,841 and when we look at my database we can see there is a solid block of engraved guns that were pulled off the factory floor for a special purpose and engraved. So when I see a gun, when I pick up an engraved gun and it falls within a block and there's several blocks throughout my databases, there's probably five or six blocks of engraved guns that we can document and I can say emphatically this is truly a factory engraved gun. But is it possible that there could be a one-off?
Meaning somebody said I want one and it was out of the blue certainly, if they were somebody important or had a lot of money, they probably could make one but when I'm buying Factory engraved or what I believe are factory engraved I feel a lot more comfortable when they fall within the range. Let me give you a few examples of other engraved Walther PPs and PPKs.
Let’s do some examples - First up!
So first this one is one that I will put on our website. As soon as I look at this one I know it's not factory engraved. Because it's very nicely engraved but it's not very ornate, you can see the way it's probably considered a floral engraving. Most of the German ones were oak leaf and acorn and the leaves and everything are just not as detailed as I see in the typical German engraving. So at a gun show, if somebody asked me I wouldn't even have to consult my database, this one actually has like a sandblasted look and engraved over. Keep in mind that after the metal is hardened, I've talked to engravers and they said it's a lot of work, it's very difficult to engrave after it's hardened. From the Walther Factory, they've engraved it while the metal was still in the soft condition. So they usually can't do them as deep or as ornate. And when I look at the serial number and I go to my database there are no other engraved guns around it. So that just confirms beautiful gun, congratulations, I'm going to put it on my site, I'm not quite sure where it's going to sell but it could be in the 2000 range because it is a beautiful original PPK but the engraving is not factory.
Oh and before we leave this guy and I forgot one of the funniest parts, most important part to show you, you know we've done a couple videos on Hermann Goering was also one to hand out presentation pieces in particular engraved Kreigoffs. And we also talked about a PPK that was sold recently on auction that they say he surrendered, when of course we know that he surrendered a Smith & Wesson revolver. But if you look at the bottom of this quite humorous, do you see that marking right there? So this is not factory engraved probably done sometime later and yet it has the Hermann Goering crest on it. So I thought you'd get a chuckle out of that. Clearly not a presentation from Goering because he was long gone by the time this was engraved.
Next Up! Is this factory Engraved?
Let's take another step and take a look at this one. Now this one, the engraving is a lot deeper and it's much more ornate, all definitely a floral engraving. The nickel finish seems to be original meaning the markings underneath are crisp and clear not looking filled in. Some of the characteristics such as you can see on the trigger guard, the check-ring and on the trigger itself and on the injection port that's typical of factory engraved guns. So if this is not factory whoever did it did a really good job of copying the German engraving. Also you can see that it is a bit deeper. So my final test, so I see this gun at a gun show and I'm thinking wow this could be factory engraved and the difference could be $15,000 for a factory engraved nickel versus $1,000 - $2,000 for one that is not factory engraved. And by the way, the same is true of Colts and other guns. When you find them and you can prove their factory engrave it really enhances the value. But the final step, back to the point, this serial number 209041 when I go to my database there are no other engraved guns, so I would probably, if you sent this to me and say could you please appraise it, I'd say it could be factory engraved but I can't say it is for sure because of the serial number range. That's why when I spend big bucks on an engraved gun I want to make sure that it is factory engraved.
Thanks for Sticking with US!!!
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