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FINE OLD GERMAN MATCH PISTOL, CASE

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by LEEBLACKM3, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. LEEBLACKM3

    LEEBLACKM3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2
    I have an antique German match pistol, felt-lined oak case and accessories. The pistol is marked on one side of the barrel "Otto Seelig, Wiesbaden" and "HOFBUCHSENMACHER" on the other. The pistol is engraved and has a inset silver "O" on the trigger guard. Set in a circle in one of the engravings near the receiving end of the barrel is 'FRANCOTT' near the top of the circle and 'BREVETE' near the bottom. "9 F" is also present outside the engraving.

    The pistol is very near immaculate. The medium-dark wood of the handle and 'forward' piece under the barrel is finely checkered and all checkering is intact and sharp. The bluing appears to all be there and some of the finish is done in a 'patchy' drilling style. The inside of the barrel is clean and bright.

    The mechanism all appears to function as it should, but I do not know the exact caliber. It appears to require a rim-fire type of cartridge...but I could be wrong.

    The case is wood (looks like light oak) and is in good shape. The interior is lined with green felt and contains a fitted space for the pistol, a wooden cleaning rod and a wood-handled screw driver. There are two compartments; one containing a bag of animal hair (horse? boar?) that I assume fits the metal-tip of the cleaning rod for bore cleaning. The other contains a bottle that probably contained oil at one time.

    I have been unable to find out anything whatsoever about this pistol. it is a very finely made and detailed piece but no one seems to know quite what ot make of it. I have had it to gun shows several times through the years, and while the dealers express a lot of interest in it, no one can tell me anything about it. Internet searches have produced nothing beyond the fact that the 'Hofbuchsenmacher' designation means "Royal Riflemaker To The King".

    I have three dealers interested in purchasing this pistol, but neither they nor I have any idea of value.

    Can anyone enlighten us about value and/or history of this piece? It was a WWII 'weapon confiscation' taken somewhere between Utah Beach and Paris with a side-trip to the Battle of the Bulge. My Uncle gave it to me many years ago along with many other trophies. He did not expound on its history.

    Email me for pics. leeblackm3@earthlink.net

    Attached Files:

  2. 22WRF

    22WRF Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    4,577
    Location:
    Pea Ridge, FL
    My guess is it was made for/by Otto Seelig HOFBUCHSENMACHER (Gunmaker to the Courta) in Wiesbaden.
    Wiesbaden is a city in central Germany. It is the capital of the state of Hessen. Wiesbaden is situated on the right, northern bank of the river Rhine.
    HOFBUCHSENMACHER marked firearms show up in the high dollar antique auctions.
    You need to get this one appraised by some one into antique firearms.
    (Off to the Antique Road Show?)
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2006
  3. Danny

    Danny Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Messages:
    601
    Location:
    West Va
    First of all that is a beautifulllllllll pistol.Over in Europe they call them freedom pistols,made for shooting matches and nothing else.It is either chambered for 22 Long or 32cal.Thats the only calibers I've seen in these.As far as price,I'd say at least 3 grand or even more,with the case and goodies.I would insure that bugger for at least ten grand.I'd never even think of selling it,but passing it down for your future generations.I do not think I would even shoot it.Break a part and you are up the creek without a paddle.Before storing I wuld suggest a good layer of oil,inside and out,and take some linseed oil to the wood,to keep it moist.A nice family prize there and congratulations on such a fine example of European workmanship.
    Kindest Regards
    Danny
  4. LEEBLACKM3

    LEEBLACKM3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2
    Thanks for the response, 22WRF. (I forgot to mention that the pistol comes with an extra sight.) After reading your comments I now believe that it was probably made for "Otto"...thus the inlaid "O" on the trigger guard. The key may be the 'Francott' designation as this is a maker of some reknown according to what I have gleaned on the Internet.
    <p>
    I am also from "Hurricaneville" ever since Charlie laid us low in Southwest Florida. A good place to live most times but short on antique firearms experts that I can find and even shorter on Gun Show dealers willing to thump down cash for new merchandise.
    <p>
    I have been offered a quick $1,000 by an on-line dealer and am inclined to take it. I have been divesting myself of a house full of military memoribilia for the last few years. Too many Nazi swords and weapons, practice bombs and such. The enviable burden of being the 'sole survivor' of a military family. I still have the .45 and Sears-made U.S. holster that my Uncle carried onto Utah Beach on D-Day...as well as the handmade double edged knife in alligator sheath his Bradenton Dad had made for him that went with it. Both items went from Utah Beach all the way through two tours of 'advising' Somosa (an effort that obviously was not particularly successful) before that particular Uncle's retirement.
    <p>
    The P-38's and Mausers and other things that Ebay wouldn't accept have all gone to local collectors. At my age having a less cluttered life seems to grow more important than keeping historical items whose purpose has been degraded to "decorative". My son teaches martial arts so the Edo Period to WWII katanas have gone to him, but he has no real interest in European things. Exactly the opposite from my youth...but I have a lifetime of being around such trophies.
    <p>
    And to Danny; Thank you for your kind response. I have kept up with the cleaning and oiling through the years, thus the continued good condition of the piece. The caliber is greater than .32. Probably approaching 9mm. I would like to keep the pistol but there are only so many things that should become heirlooms and there is no sentimental attachment to this piece. The 48-inch, baby-blue practice bomb dated "Dec. 1941" that my Dad gave my Mom when he was shipped out elicits more humorous memories than a confiscated pistol in a box..all aesthetics aside. As a child my family was stationed in Germany from 1948 through the early 50's...so European workmanship abounds in this house. Those people were starving and they brought by family treasure on a daily basis just to survive. Hand-carved wild boar lamps and such can be utilized and displayed but the pistol belongs in its case tucked away. With every wall in the family room covered floor-to-ceiling and the closets and garage stuffed I have simply got to lighten up.
    <p>
    Thanks again, to you both.
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