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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys!

I recently picked this up at the gun shop off consignment hoping it would just be a shooter, but upon further inspection and research I think I may have stumbled upon an US army test trials american eagle luger!
The serials all match and fall within the bannerman test luger serials. Its in fair condition, some pitting and surface rust over the frame, barrel is also in fair condition. Everything seems to match except for the grips? Magazine seems to be a correct with no serial and wooden bottom. I would just like some second opinions from the collectors here to see if I have the real deal. the pictures attached should give a better description that what I can type. If this is indeed a test luger then I probally would not want to keep this as a shooter. Ive seen pristine test lugers go for $7k at auctions, so maybe in this condition im looking at $3-4k? Please let me know if my ballpark is within range.
 

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Check the locking bolt for a serial number. Which side of the bolt is it on? Left or right? Now the condition of your Luger is very poor and at 50% the book value is about $1000. I don't know if yours even rates that high. But it is a good find and depends on how much you paid for it. Now they made 12000 1900 American Eagles and only a few were US test models. But if yours is then you can add about 40% to the value of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The locking bolt is on the right side. Yeah I figured that If it had been a noramal AE it would range at ~1000 but didint know how much being a test luger add to the value of it. Thanks for the input though!
 

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Can't really comment on whether it is a test luger or not, though numbers seem to make it a potential find. BUT - I would NOT rate condition as "very poor". Looks quite nice, and probably would come in at around 50%. Needs to be looked at by somebody who really knows Lugers, I think.
 

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That appears to be a possible test Luger. Is it 7.65 mm caliber ? I believe all the 1900 test lugers were that caliber. It does appear to have the "flaming bomb" stamp on the receiver just below the chamber which I believe all test lugers should have. I believe the photos indicate the piece is better than "poor condition" I would say somewhere in the good to very good range from the pics. You are very fortunate to find this piece. If I were you I would not fire the pistol but keep it as a display piece or could be used for good investment purposes if ever needed for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That appears to be a possible test Luger. Is it 7.65 mm caliber ? I believe all the 1900 test lugers were that caliber. It does appear to have the "flaming bomb" stamp on the receiver just below the chamber which I believe all test lugers should have. I believe the photos indicate the piece is better than "poor condition" I would say somewhere in the good to very good range from the pics. You are very fortunate to find this piece. If I were you I would not fire the pistol but keep it as a display piece or could be used for good investment purposes if ever needed for that.
Yes! it is in 7.65, should've stated that important fact. Yeah said the same to myself about not firing it...shame though, really bought it to be a shooter before realizing what it was...
 

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With the pitting on the receiver as well as the very worn finish it cannot be graded as fair condition. But even at 50% it is still booked out at $1000 + 40% more IF it is a test piece. If the serial number is stamped on the right side of the locking lug then it adds to the probability of it being a test piece.
 

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I agree that nothing looks out of the ordinary, and it does fall within Bannerman’s Test Eagle s/n range. I’d also rate it far and above “poor” and will say that even a mismatched 1900 is worth more than $1400.

That said, take your photos to one or both of the Luger forums and ask the real experts.
Jan Still’s Luger Forum: http://luger.gunboards.com/forum.php
The Luger Forum: http://forum.lugerforum.com/
Plenty of published authors and long, long time collectors who can give you some definite answers and values.

Good luck with your new Luger. Test Eagle or not, it’s a keeper.
 

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Condition is far from good, but at least it has not been refinished with faked and/or renumbered parts. It's very honest in finish.

It's actually fairly complete, too. These went through tests and rebuilds with the US Army, more potential rebuilds with Bannerman, and then spent a hundred years or more in civilian hands. The bulk of them will have swapped, rebuilt or mismatched parts. So, finding one with just the mismatched grips is a relatively scarce commodity.

If I was cataloging this piece for an auction company, I'd place an estimate of $3,000 to $3,500, and fully expect it realize such a value range. Collectors will throw out the book for a chance to land a genuine specimen.
 

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Okay, this is from Jan Still - he wrote this a number of years ago - this luger is within the test range;
The reported serial range for these 770 Lugers purchased by Bannerman are 6167-96, 6282, 6361-7108, and 7147


Test Lugers have a lot of myths, the marking on the right or underneath for the locking bolt is haphazard at this time.

Ed
 

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Thank you for posting your recent gun shop find! I maintain a list of known surviving US Test Trials American Eagle Lugers and this is a new one for the data base! It is authentic and is a Bannerman purchase example which absolutely makes it a piece that actually participated in the Test. There are approximately 2000 model 1900 American Eagle Lugers with US Test Trials characteristics, but the Army only purchased 1000. There is no official record of what guns participated in the test, so the only assurance of having a Test piece are those guns purchased by Bannerman as surplus in 1910 and listed by serial number in the purchase documents. That purchase plus a few serial numbers recorded in maintenance records and 8 additional serial numbers were found not too long ago in the National Archives records are the only guarentees we have.

Test Trial guns are frequently found with mis-matched parts as the Army and Bannerman cannibalized parts from Test Lugers beyond repair to make functional pieces. Your gun with matching parts is more desirable. The grips do not detract a great deal from the value but it would be better to obtain a set of Model 1900 grips as the ones on your gun are of later manufacture. I wouldn't mind seeing a couple more photos of the left grip to see how it has been modified to work with a grip safety Luger. The locking bolt was numbered on the right round end up to serial number 7100. It migrated to he left side flat shortly after that number (serial number 7108 which was part of the Bannerman purchase is marked on the left flat). Given the condition of your gun (which isn't too bad) and the matching numbered parts I would say your original estimate of value isn't too far off.

Thank you again for expanding the US Test Trials Luger knowledge base. I post the list of known survivors on Jan Still's forum and the LugerForum but I haven't updated it in over a year so publishing a new list in the near future will be a New Year's resolution that I can keep.;)
Ron
 

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wwang,

Fortune has definitely befallen you. The above blessing comes from the leading authority on the US Test Trials AE, and carries significant weight. It means that you can erase any question you might have had about authenticity.

And thanks for the visit to Gunboards, Ron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Wow! Thanks for the response guys! Really didn’t know what I got myself into. Unfortunately I think this peice belongs to a true collecter rather than myself, who was just looking for a shooter. I put it up for auction on gunbroker if anyone wants to find a worthy home for it. Hopefully it will help fund a decent shooter...or two!
 

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This is for Ron Wood. I have a Test Luger that I would like to add to your list, if it isn't already there. Michael Reese lists it in his book, but he shows the number twice--once with Ralph Shattuck, from whom I bought 6362 in the early to mid 80s. All numbers match, including the grips. I also want to know how many are now on the list. What can you tell me?
 
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