WW2 Walther PPK w/Swastika Grip

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by bmw750, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. bmw750

    bmw750 New Member

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    Here are some photos of a Walther PPK that my dad brought home from the European Theater when he shipped out. He always told me he had "liberated" his small German gun collection. I assumed that meant that all guns in the hands of the enemy were, of course, confiscated and either kept by the U.S. military or destroyed. I'm not sure this explains why he also brought home a matched set of gold inlay 18th century dueling pistols, but that's another story. In any case, I have looked around a little and cannot find photos online of similar Walther PPK's with this exact grip.

    I hope my photos are adequate to determine a little historical significance. I'm pretty sure the serial number indicates they were manufactured in 1935. Please note I have airbrushed out some identifying numbers from the gun and holster. I've noticed others have done so. I guess I don't really see the purpose in it, but I'll hold to tradition.

    Anything you can tell me about this Walther would be appreciated. I'm not sure I'd want to part with it just yet, but a rough appraisal would also be very much appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Member

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    First, welcome to the forum, bmw750!

    You have an interesting and highly collectible gun. The most remarkable thing about it that is readily apparent to me are the grips.

    You might want to brace yourself for the idea that the grips on your pistol are not original to the gun, but are post-war reproductions. As I understand it (and I am far from an expert in this area) all the wartime grips of Walther PPK pistols were made of a plastic called "Trolit" or "Trolitan", and were almost invariably brown in color, not black.

    The grips on your gun are a style called "party leader grips". A quick Google Image Search will show many examples and many people discussing them. There are other people here who will be able to tell you all about them and your particular pistol. HTH!
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  3. bmw750

    bmw750 New Member

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    Lanrezac,
    Is there a way to verify authenticity?
    My dad brought back several handguns and long guns from the war and as far as I know he never altered them. But he could have, unfortunately he has passed away and I can't ask him.
  4. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Member

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    bmw750, what I wrote is the extent of my knowledge on the subject. From remarks such as this one:

    http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=83182

    I gather that black grips of that style are generally assumed to be reproductions. However, this is a very specialized area, and I have no specific knowledge myself. Since such grips add substantially to the value of a gun, there is an active market in faking them, or at least reproducing them for those who could not otherwise afford them, and collectors are inclined to be suspicious.

    Of course, neither you nor your father had any intent to deceive, and such grips might easily have been chosen to replace damaged originals just for their period flavor.

    Hopefully, others will be along who know far more about this subject than I do. HTH!
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  5. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

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    1935/36, but the grips are almost certainly reproduction.
  6. TTE

    TTE Member

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    I am no where close to being an expert (I do have a Brown Party Leader, with opinons from this forum) and will defer to your knowledge. That being said, I know there were black Party Leader grips.

    Now how 'one' can tell the authentic black PL grips from the fake PL grips, I'm not sure.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I don't have a PP/PPK with "Party Leader" grips, but black was the grip color usually offered in that period; brown/tan and mottled grips came later.

    Jim
  8. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    Doing a search I found both Brown and Black party grips. The design and stamping look very similar to the OP's gun.
  9. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Member

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    I finally did what I should have done before I opened my mouth on this subject: I went home and got a book, namely "Walther Pistols" by Dieter H. Marschall, copyright 2000.

    For the PPK, under "Basic Characteristics" (pg. 21) grips are described as: "One piece, brown grip panel made from injected molded Trolit with a metal reinforcement piece molded into the the back of the grip panel."

    This applies until what Marschall calls the Sixth Variation "from 12/41?". Starting then, he says, "The one piece grip panel is a mottled brown color but later this color is increasingly replaced by grey-brown, solid gray, or black (pg. 22). The "Sixth Variation" was the final variation, and ran to the end of wartime production.

    He has a section on "Special Variation: Political Leaders Honor Weapon (Ehrenwaffe fur Politische Leiter)", in which he he mentions the special swastika grips, but without ever discussing their color. Perhaps, then, if such grips were made after about December 1941, then they could be the same color as any "Sixth Variation" grips, i.e., mottled brown, gray-brown, solid gray, or black. Therefore, it would be possible for black political leader grips to be genuine, invalidating my earlier speculation.

    Detail on this scale makes my head spin, and I hereby retire from the field. I wish I had said nothing in the first place. Voicing an opinion on any Walther, Mauser, Sauer, or Luger product is an act of sheer recklessness. :)
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  10. TTE

    TTE Member

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    Sir,

    Everyone has their area of expertise. Personally, I think you stated quite clearly (as did I) that you were not an expert in this particular area.

    Anyone making a determination of the quality/value/rarity/collectibility of a weapon shown on an internet forum by someone that states "they are not experts, or are far from being an expert, in the field, (you and I) after one or two opinions from self proclaimed 'non-experts' , IMO, is not really too interested in what they have.

    This is just my opinion, and others may have a different one.

    As I am NOT an expert on ANY firearm(s), I do comment from time to time on things I know 'something' about.

    I try and comment responsibly, but there is much I don't know.

    I enjoy reading your and others posts on this forum, on many topics. If you had not commented, I may have passed this thread by altogether.

    I look forward to reading your comments in all areas of this forum.
  11. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    All I know is that I can dig out several Walther pistols from that era and they have black grips, including an RFV. Color pictures of the guns from that era also show black grips, and black was generally the grip color chosen by all handgun makers at that time, German, American, British (no pink Webley grips, gals!), etc.

    With all the other grips black, it would seem to me unlikely that "party leader" grips at that time would be some other color. Later, for whatever reason, Walther began to use brown and tan grips; very late in the war they even used pressed wood (the plastic grip supplier suffered what might be called an unfortunate business collapse).

    Jim
  12. TTE

    TTE Member

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  13. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Whatever would make you think that a set of warped, poor quality, soft plastic grips with a crude eagle and no ferrules might be fake?

    I think a comparison with the pictures posted by bmw750 should speak for itself. IMHO, bmw750's grips are genuine, where the ones on ******* are so poor as to be ridiculous.

    Jim
  14. valbehaved

    valbehaved Member

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    The most common and original "party leader" PPK grips are mottled brown. Very good quality reproduction brown grips do exist but can be fairly easily distinguished from the originals.
    It is possible that original black party leader grips also exist, but good quality reproductions are impossible to tell from the originals.
  15. bmw750

    bmw750 New Member

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    Thank you to all who have added to this discussion and my understanding and appreciation of my dad's PPK.
    I am including a couple other photos(smaller files this time). I also have spent a little time looking through some of my dad's old papers and found the included certificate.
    I realize it proves nothing in the way of the authenticity of the grips, my dad still could have changed the grips. Knowing my dad as I do, I'm sure he would have mentioned it, but more importantly, he never would have thrown away the originals. I seriously doubt he would have altered the gun in any way.
    I believe the certificate does prove my dad brought the gun back from the European Theater and it has been in his hands, and now mine, ever since.
    Thanks again for all the interesting comments and insights this forum has provided.

    Attached Files:

  16. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    TTE, why would you think that grips made from soft plastic, warped and poorly fitting, with a crude depiction of an eagle with droopy wings, poor quality checkering and no ferrules, might not be original? Those grips are trash and anyone who would think them original would be very naive indeed.

    IMHO, the grips on bmw750's gun are genuine and original, and I suggest a comparison between those and the ones on *******.

    This is the same thing we see on other counterfeit Nazi items. I do NOT collect Nazi items in general, but make an exception for German guns with the markings of that era. But the workers and craftsmen of that time, regardless of their feelings toward the government, were German. The medals, guns, daggers, emblems, pins, etc. made for the NSDAP or the government were of the uniform high quality of craftsmanship associated with Germany, then and now. There have been a few high quality fakes, but in general it is almost laughingly easy to tell a genuine product of that era from the crude junk made in the third world and sold in the U.S. or elsewhere. (The use of the Swastika is banned in Germany, so none of the trash with that marking comes from the original country.)

    Jim
  17. SSMN

    SSMN Member

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    Hard to tell without a full serial number, but if the first three numbers are 9007, then this gun is approx 1935 production. There were no black grips provided on PPKs until late in the war. Early grips such as provided in 1935 were brown marbeled with streaks of black.

    Second, there are many black Party Leader grips around and so far they have all proved to be counterfeit. While anything is possible, no black Party leader grips have been found and determined to be authentic to this point.

    This is what 1935 brown marbeled grips looked like with the necessary left to right screw. This one happens to be an RZM Muzzle Marked SS issue.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  18. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Member

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    SSMN, just to increase my poor stock of knowledge, does the PPK in your photo have what is called a 90-degree safety? Thanks in advance!
  19. SSMN

    SSMN Member

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    Lanrezak,
    Yes, the gun posted has a ninety degree safety. I will post pics of the sixty.
  20. SSMN

    SSMN Member

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    Sixty degree safety. 1937 production. Also SS issue.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
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