Dating a FN Browning Hi Power with multiple markings

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by wildrose_68, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. wildrose_68

    wildrose_68 New Member

    Jun 21, 2012
    I've looking at the other postings on FN Browning Hi Powers and I can't find any with 4 digit sn's and with sooooo many markings. Most are Belgian, some I'm just not sure. :confused: (Jim K - seems to know alot on this gun)
    Has a stock slot and rear tangant sights.
    Any help would be appreciated. A price range would help too.

    Attached Files:

  2. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    I am going to infer likely 1935 or 36 from the serial number.

    The "*" over "E" does not help much because it was used from 1924 to 1959; and 1995 to present. The "H" inside of circle is a military acceptance mark, if my source is correct.

    There should be a production date code stamped (often hidden) on it somewhere, but your markings photo have too much glare and too little clarity. The date code for 1935 is "n" and for 1936 is "o". Sometimes the date stamp is cursive script. Sometimes it is not present.

    Here is a link that may help:

    Tangent sight HP's are pricey. Pricier in this good or better condition and pre WW II. I am guessing you might see $2,000 if you can find a collector who needs it.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012

  3. wildrose_68

    wildrose_68 New Member

    Jun 21, 2012
    I couldn't find any info on the serial number. Is the "H" in the circle an inspector's mark?
  4. wildrose_68

    wildrose_68 New Member

    Jun 21, 2012
    removed drawing
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  5. wildrose_68

    wildrose_68 New Member

    Jun 21, 2012
    The second mark on the barrel (right side) I can't make out. The stamp jumped.
  6. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Try to get some super clear super close up pics of any and all marks without flash.

    The actual year of manufacture does not really matter. Someone, here, with more collector knowledge than myself can likely tell you more about it from the markings.
  7. wildrose_68

    wildrose_68 New Member

    Jun 21, 2012
    Thanks for letting me pick your brain. :)
  8. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    You are welcome.

    Someone with more expertise will likely get involved later.
  9. wildrose_68

    wildrose_68 New Member

    Jun 21, 2012
    Maybe these pictures will work.

    Attached Files:

  10. Redbeard

    Redbeard New Member

    Jun 11, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I'll give you $20. Probably more than it's worth but I'll take it off your hands... ;)

    Seriously though, that is a nice piece. I concur with the assertion that the age & tangental sight will bring a pretty penny.

    Condition is a finiky thing and may or may not have a drastic effect on the value. It might be worth your while to seek out an appraiser. That particular pistol should have adequate insurance coverage.
  11. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    I had one just like it, serial # 1178x, with a shoulder stock. A friend wanted it very badly, so I sold it to him. We went through the Form 4 route because that was before BATFE started allowing shoulder stock pistols to be removed from the NFRTR.

    The small ELG oval was/is used on auto pistols that have been proved to at least 50% over standard pressure. It is the same as the other except for size.

    The serial number history of all FN pistols is confusing. For example, Stevens says that the first 1000 pistols were delivered to the Belgian army in May 1935. Then, in Sept. 1935, for reasons not specified, the numbering was reset to 1. How many were made in the first series seems to be unknown. Then a Chinese order for 5000 guns was delivered, but no indication of what the numbers were. Then a Lithuanian contract gun, number 3811 is shown; apparently either numbers of various contracts were mixed or the numbers were reset again!

    FN, we know, did apply serial numbers as requested by the purchaser. If a country ordered 5000 pistols and asked that they be serial numbered 1-5000, FN obliged, no matter if that resulted in duplicate (triplicate, etc.) numbers.

    It is well known that to many factories, including Springfield Armory (the gov't factory), serial numbers were of little concern, being considered a means of inventory control by the purchaser, not a way of keeping factory records. But FN seems to have really outdone itself in total confusion. And not just the BHP; the Model 1910 and Model 1922 numbering is just as confusing.

    jmace57 likes this.
  12. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    This pistol was produced for use by the Belgian armed forces prior to WWII. The Germans took over the factory when they invaded Belgium. They continued to assemble these pistols using parts found in the factory, and the first few thousand had tangent sights and stock slots. When they ran out of slotted receivers they started producing non slotted versions, but kept using the slides which had tangent sights. Eventually they ran out of these slides, so they started producing slides with ordinary fixed sights. Thus, there were three Nazi versions of this pistol, tangent sighted with stock slot, tangent sighted without stock slot, and standard fixed sight without stock slot. The Nazi marked tangent slotted ones are very rare and are presently priced over $4000. The Belgian tangent slotted ones are much less in demand and go for $1500 to $2000 in excellent condition.
  13. pistol_pete10

    pistol_pete10 New Member

    Jul 3, 2013
    My wife inherited a BHP from her father. She wants to know what all the markings mean. I have been able to locate the meanin of most of the markings and based on S/N I guess the gun was made around 1938? All S/Ns match. The main question I have is, where most of the guns I have seen pics of have an upper cas E with a star above it, this one appears to have an upper case A. Does anyone have any info on this and/or any other info on the gun. Thanks


  14. valbehaved

    valbehaved Member

    Nov 24, 2009
    You have a Belgian military Hi-power made around 1937-1938.
    It has all the correct proof and acceptance markings, including the crown/a marking that you are referring to.
    These acceptance marks changed as a new inspection Army officer was assigned to the factory at different times in the production run.
  15. WHSmithIV

    WHSmithIV Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2012
    Moore, Idaho
    I sure wish it was in my collection .......
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