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Discussion Starter #1
I recently came into possession of a 1939, Crown/N marked PPK that seems to be a bringback that was chrome- or nickel-plated by a vet after the war. The plating seems to be quite thick in places; the factory information and Walther banner on the slide is still readable, as is the Crown proof mark (but just barely.)
I can't quite decide yet if I should leave the plating as-is, as the refinishing of war trophies was popular at that time (and adds to the historical curiosity of the piece), or if I should have the plating stripped and re-blued to restore it to its "former glory". Either way, the PPK would still be considered "refinished," but would one be considered more desirable/valuable if I were to resell it sometime in the future?
Also, would stripping the chrome risk removing the Walther banner and stamps completely, or would it actually make them clearer because they're not "filled in" by the chrome?

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YES. the chrome can be sucessfully removed, and you could reblue from there.

BUT, what cannot be replaced is all the metal that is worn off from the buffing process prior to the chrome plating. none of your edges are sharp anymore, so there no way that it will ever look anywhere close to orginal.
I would leave it just as it is, and treat it as it is, a war trophy personalized by the returning conqueror.
 

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"I would leave it just as it is, and treat it as it is, a war trophy personalized by the returning conqueror."

Well said ... I was going to say something similar, but what you've said can not be improved upon.
 

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"I would leave it just as it is, and treat it as it is, a war trophy personalized by the returning conqueror."

Well said ... I was going to say something similar, but what you've said can not be improved upon.
I understand that position and can appreciate the historicity of a chromed bringback. I wish I had more info on who the previous owner was, and if he got it chromed in Germany by one of the shops that would plate war trophies for GIs in exchange for goods, or if it was a done by some auto parts shop in the US in the 50s- which would be less interesting.

But part of me also thinks that these GIs adding flashy coating to something considered a fine example of German engineering kind of "bastardizes" the diligent, handcrafted work of the Walther employees, especially if the work wasn't done carefully enough to try to better preserve the identifying marks. "Returning conqueror" / "us vs. them" / "all Germans are Nazis and we showed them what fer" isn't the way I look at things.
 

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My favorite PPK was a nickled WW2 bring back. The previous owner had it stripped and blued. The result was a mess. I managed to get an original pre-war parts kit that was almost everything except the frame. I polished And blued the frame and built up the pistol from there. It turned out well but was expensive. Without the new/old parts it would not have been worth the effort. I saved a ton of cash by doing the polish, blue and part fitting myself.

In the case of the OP’s pistol ... best left alone or sold to buy and unmolested PPK.

Before,



After,

 

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Discussion Starter #6
My favorite PPK was a nickled WW2 bring back. The previous owner had it stripped and blued. The result was a mess. I managed to get an original pre-war parts kit that was almost everything except the frame. I polished And blued the frame and built up the pistol from there. It turned out well but was expensive. Without the new/old parts it would not have been worth the effort. I saved a ton of cash by doing the polish, blue and part fitting myself.

In the case of the OP’s pistol ... best left alone or sold to buy and unmolested PPK.
That's very helpful, thanks! The before picture doesn't look too bad, actually, especially if one were to use it as a carry gun.
 

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Picture makes it look better than it was. Looked very much like yours with much of the etching on the slide blurred/missing. I got lucky, but if it had not already been blued I would have left it alone.
 

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No need to feel it is a conqueror kind of thing; just the marks and scars of a long and eventful life, marks left by the gun's maker and others since.
Leave it alone if it doesn't suit as-is, trade it for something more to your liking.
Remind yourself that these wartime guns were often chrome plated because of pitting or rust; it is unlikely it was pristine before being plated.
Moon
 
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