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World War I historians and collectors of paraphernalia often try to find vintage guns from the period. The 1917 Erfurt Luger, a German handgun used by soldiers in the war, is one of the sought after pieces from this era. Lugers that are available today can be found in various qualities from well-maintained in near mint condition, to badly damaged and eroded guns. This affects the value of the collector's item. With a pricing guide and a keen eye, you can determine a value for the 1917 Erfurt German Luger.
Items you will need
Gun collector guide
Handheld magnifying glass
Flash- or headlight
Pen and paper
Inspect the 1917 Erfurt Luger. Begin your inspection at the handle. Look to see the color on the edges of the handle and on the grips. Yellowing or brown suggests there is weathering and wear taking place on the item. Use the magnifying glass to inspect the the edge of the handle grips and look for chipping or erosion on the etched ribs. This reduces the value a little of the Luger.
Check to make sure the Luger is unloaded. Double check once you have looked at the chamber. Now, turn the Luger around and look down the barrel and bore. Shine the flashlight into the bore of the barrel and look for rust or erosion of the interior of the barrel. Rust or damage to the barrel and bore reduce the Luger's value.
Look at the checkered handle grips once again. Look for oil stains on the wood. Look if the wood color is consistent or if the wood has patches of faded wood and then darker wood. Continuous color makes the value increase where patches of different color reduce value to the Luger.
Take a series of pictures of the Luger with the digital camera. Make sure to get pictures of the etched stamps and numbers on the top of the barrel of the Luger. Use these pictures to cross-reference with the gun guide.
Gather all your observations and pictures and then use the gun guide to find the range of value for the 1917 Erfurt Luger. The range for the 1917 Erfurt Luger as of 2010 is between $900 to over $4,000 depending on the gun's condition.
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.