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Auction Date: April 24, 2015

Lot 1451: Walther - PP

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Extraordinary Historic Pre-World War II Walther Factory Engraved Gold Plated Model PP Presentation Pistol For King Carol II of Romania
Estimated Price: $80,000 - $140,000
Item Views 297 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Walther - PP ManufacturerWalther ModelPP
TypePistol Gauge7.65 Mm Auto Catalog Page174
Barrel4 Inch Round FinishGold GripAntique Ivory
Stock ClassCurio & Relic Handgun RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis fabulous Walther is of one of the best pre-war factory engraved presentation Walther PPs we have had the opportunity to offer at auction. This exciting pistol was commissioned by the Nazi leaders to present to King Carol II of Romania during his reign. While Crown Prince of Romania, Carol II caused a scandal by openly engaging in an affair with Elena Lupescu, and abdicated his position as heir apparent of Ferdinand I in 1925 so he could run off with her, leaving his son Michael (born 1921) to take the throne on Ferdinand's death in 1927. Invited back into the country as part of a internal power play by Prime Minister Iuliu Maniu, Carol was supposed to serve as part of Michael's regency government and leave Lupescu behind, but instead reasserted his claim as Ferdinand's heir, taking the crown from his young son. Through 1940 Carol II was the King keeping the various factions of his government under control and maintaining Romania's neutrality, but in the process had to concede possession of much of the territory Ferdinand I had gained during the First World War to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Taking advantage of the public unrest this generated, the pro-fascist Iron Guard and the administration of Marshal Ion Antonescu were able to drive Carol II out of the land and put Michael back on the throne. Fleeing the country, Carol II and Lupescu narrowly escaped a final assassination attempt by the Iron Guard near the Yugoslavian border and went into exile abroad, settling for periods in Western Europe, Mexico and South America moving regularly due to her health. They were formally married in 1947, and Carol II died in Portugal in 1953. Under the Iron Guard and Antonescu, Romania allied with the Axis powers and participated in the invasion of the Soviet Union. King Michael was later forced out by the Romanian Communist Party in 1947 after having denounced Romania's alliance with the Axis powers and having helped a coup that ousted Antonescu; he never spoke to his father again and did not attend his funeral. As mentioned above, in the late 1930s until his abdication, King Carol II was heavily courted by the Nazi leadership though he remained neutral. Hitler and other party officials wanted to secure an alliance so that they could utilize and potentially seize the highly prized oil field and refineries at Ploiesti. Ploiesti, the site of the world's first refinery first opened in 1856, became an important source of oil accounting for approximately 35% of petroleum resources of the Axis during the war. The nine refineries there were the target of Operation Tidal Wave on August 1, 1943, as part of the Allied Oil Campaign designed to crush crucial German oil resources. This elaborately embellished pistol was undoubtedly a gift given to the King, likely from Hitler himself, during the attempts to garner his favor. It is the earliest known factory engraved Walther Mod. PP pistol (this is number 751249, the 1249th Walther PP!) and displays all the rare early features including: the fat safety lever, split firing pin, large ring hammer, 90 degree safety, and early style magazine. Lt was engraved by the Zella-Mehlis Guild/Walther engravers and is profusely decorated with a very tight fancy English scroll engraving highlighted by numerous Edelweiss flowers on the sides and top of slide as well as around the borders of the factory legends. It also features an overall gold plated finish, and the grips have an inset on the left side that features the Romanian Crown over the initials "CC". The left side of the slide bears the Walther Banner, two line factory legend, and the caliber and model designation on three relief panels. The serial number is located vertically on the right side of the frame. "Crown/N" proof marks are present on the right side of the frame above the trigger, the slide below the ejection port, and the barrel at the muzzle.

ConditionExcellent. 95% plus of the original gold plated finish remains overall with some minor oxidation of the gold plated finish on the front and rear grips strap and some minor speckling on the upper left side of the slide along the engraving. The grips are also in excellent condition with a beautiful matching color on both sides. The relief gold inset is still tight. This is exquisite, one of a kind pistol is the earliest known factory presentation Walther PP and is an important historic artifact that attests to the dramatic rise of fascism in Europe and the immense difficulty neutral leaders faced as they attempted to remain free from Hitler's influence.
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