Rock Island Auction Company

Premiere Auction

Schwarzlose Andreas - 1898

Lot 3489
Sold for
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Estimated Price: $20,000 - $30,000
Exceptionally Rare Original Prototype Schwarzlose Self-Loading 1898 Semi-Automatic Pistol with World War II Capture Documents and Unique Leather Holster
Serial # ManufacturerSchwarzlose Andreas Model1898
TypePistol Gauge Catalog Page167
Barrel Length6 Inch Round FinishBlue GripWalnut Checkered
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is an exceptional example of a rare all original 1898 Schwarzlose self-loading semi-automatic, that is accompanied by a WWII capture document, as provided by the consignor. The capture document is dated Dec 1945 and lists "1-German Capture Pistol". This model was originally designed by Andreas Schwarzlose of Prussia who was most noted for his early water cooled machine gun designs. During the late 1800s there were several companies developing semi-automatic pistols for the world market but only a handful would actually prove to be successful, consequently any of these early semi-automatic pre-1899 pistols are extremely rare. Although the Schwarzlose pistol was not one of the most successful pistols, the uniqueness of the design was actually revolutionary and could almost be considered a prototype with very few ever manufactured. The functioning of this model is based on what is termed a rotating bolt mechanism and is actually very similar in design to the current M16 series of rifles, only 110 years earlier. This pistol has a one-piece rotating bolt/upper rear receiver that has four locking lugs around the bolt head itself. The breech end of the barrel is also machined with four matching corresponding locking lugs. When a cartridge is fired, the pressure of the cartridge actually drives the barrel slightly rearward which in turns pushes the entire bolt rearward to start the unlocking sequence. This rearward movement allows the bolt/upper receiver to extract and eject the cartridge. The rear of the receiver has a small lug pinned in place in the center that fits into a race-way or track on the underside of the bolt that actually rotates the bolt itself, as it moves rearward. A very similar mechanism(s) is used on both the Johnson automatic rifles and Swiss K-31 series of rifles. This model of pistol fires the 7.63 Mauser cartridge and has a machined steel clip that loads through the butt of the pistol. It has a double grasping/cocking levers on the rear end of the bolt with a striker acting as a loading indicator on the rear of the pistol. It is fitted with a high front sight and a rotating/adjustable rear sight that is graduated from 1-5 (100-500 meters?). The right side of the barrel, upper receiver and bolt all have the 1891 era German "Double Crown/ U" proofmark. There is no serial number in the usual left side of frame area, as an aforementioned proof occupies that position. Fitted with a set of checkered walnut grips. Typically there were serial numbered on various components, however this is void of any numbers, which may indicate that it was a very early pistol. It currently retains all its originally rust blued finish on the bolt and barrel with a straw colored trigger, cocking indicator and two large levers on the left side. The bottom floor plate of the original nickel plated magazine is stamped "R" which is where the serial number usually resides. Also accompanying this very rare pistol is an original, early military style leather holster that looks like it was made exactly for this pistol. The holster has a slightly longer barrel channel, however it has the full military style flap, with the sides of the body of the holster slightly longer so that it extended up to cover the full side of the pistol. The top front edge of the holster has been slightly cut-down to fit the larger cocking ears on the rear of the bolt assembly, and the front edge of the flap has two wear marks where the ears have been in contact with it for years, so it probably is an original period produced commercial holster just slightly altered to fit this gun. Originally this pistol was displayed in a black shadow box and so was the capture documents, both of which will come with this rare pistol. For a pistol produced in 1898 with a radically new design or operating system, this pistol actually looks like a real semi-automatic pistol.

ConditionExtremely fine condition with the barrel and bolt assembly retaining 90% of its original high polish blued finish with the lower frame/receiver retaining 40% of the blued finish mostly in the protected areas. The frame areas that have lost the finish shows honest wear and handling marks. 50% of the original straw colors remain on the small parts. The walnut grips are also in fine condition with nice visible checkering on both sides, showing wear overall with some areas with minor handling marks. This is an exceptionally rare pistol in all original condition. A unique opportunity!
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