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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I would show off my 1957-58 vintage Walther PP in 7.65/32 ACP. I bought this piece a years ago at a local gun shop. This was imported and first sold in this country in 1981, but the serial number indicates 1957-58 manufacture date. I was told this was a police gun issued in Germany and served as a backup weapon for a law enforcement officer in the US. I still have the original bill of sale in South Carolina dated 1981 as well as my own receipt from 2010. I have shot the weapon some, but lately just prefer to look at it and admire.
 

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Nice. Not a US produced Interarms model for that time period though.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice. Not a US produced Interarms model for that time period though.
No; not US produced. French production by Manurhin. Although I don't have a photo of the box cover, it is their standard brown color with Manurhin in the top left corner. I am aware the French produced these under license for Walther during the post-war years. I am guessing Sean Connery's Walther PPk pistol in the 1960's would have been Manurhin production, assuming the props for his movies were the real thing.
 

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Nice. Not a US produced Interarms model for that time period though.
No; not US produced. French production by Manurhin. Although I don't have a photo of the box cover, it is their standard brown color with Manurhin in the top left corner. I am aware the French produced these under license for Walther during the post-war years....
Since the pistol has the Walther banner on the slide, not the Manurhin slide stamping, it must have been one of the earliest Manurhin-produced, but Ulm-finished specimen if the serial does indeed place it into 1957/58 as you say. As such, I believe it should not have come with a Manurhin box. But it is possible for the transition time; others here know more about box history than I do.

Since you say it may be a police gun, are there any non-factory stampings indicating such on the other side?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Since you say it may be a police gun, are there any non-factory stampings indicating such on the other side?
Let me take a few more pictures in the morning of the box and the other documentation I have which should answer the question. I did not see anything that appears to be distinctive non-factory markings, but you may be able to see something I haven't.
 

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Nice. Not a US produced Interarms model for that time period though.
Interarms only produced the PPK and PPK/S (well, actually they were manufactured by Ranger for Interarms). The PP was solely produced by Walther and Manurhin in Germany and France, respectively.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
More photos and info

I took three more photos of the box, the other side of the pistol, and one of the two magazines for additional information. According to what I have read here on the forum, the serial number indicates 1957-58 timeframe of manufacture. The Manurhin box also has the serial number stickered to the box (not shown in the photo). The additional photo of the right side of the pistol shows the serial number with a large asterisk prior to the number. Does that indicate some kind of police marking that was struck through? When I bought this weapon at a local gun shop, the store owner told me that this gun had been purchased by a policeman in South Carolina. I have the store receipt from 1981, but I won't include that in the photos due to privacy concerns. The original purchase price in the US at that time was $399.95. My purchase price was about $100 above that in 2010. You may be able to see the German name "Staneker" in the box with the pistol. I am told this is the name of the West German policeman to whom the pistol was originally issued. I have no way of confirming this information, but it is intriguing nonetheless. I appreciate any additional information the administrators or forum members can provide. This is one of my favorite pieces which will never be resold by me.
 

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That’s not an asterisk; you are indeed correct that it is a German state police marking that was struck out with multiple linear punches creating this star pattern.

I’d need a really good close-up of that marking, and it might be possible to figure out which state. There are a few possibilities in that location. Maybe Baden-Württemberg or Rheinland-Pfalz.

And it sounds like the box is indeed correct for that gun, at least for its service life. Does the sticker look factory? The officer‘s name in the box is common and a nice bonus; sometimes there‘s also a location.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
That’s not an asterisk; you are indeed correct that it is a German state police marking that was struck out with multiple linear punches creating this star pattern.

I’d need a really good close-up of that marking, and it might be possible to figure out which state. There are a few possibilities in that location. Maybe Baden-Württemberg or Rheinland-Pfalz.

And it sounds like the box is indeed correct for that gun, at least for its service life. Does the sticker look factory? The officer‘s name in the box is common and a nice bonus; sometimes there‘s also a location.
The sticker does not look like a factory marking to me; simply a piece of white tape with the serial number hand written. I took as good of a close up as my point and shoot Nikon will allow of the strike through mark near the serial number, but I can't see any lettering underneath. I even looked at it under an extreme magnifier and all I could do is confirm what you said; the marking is an intentional multi-strike pattern that was not on the pistol originally. Thanks a lot for your response. It tells me that my favorite local gun shop owner knew what he was talking about when he sold me the PP. Interesting that the pistol may have been used/issued in the Rheinland-Pfalz area, as I was stationed in their in the Air Force 1978-1981.
 

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.... Interesting that the pistol may have been used/issued in the Rheinland-Pfalz area, as I was stationed in their in the Air Force 1978-1981.
I think you got that.

Looking at your photo, while I can‘t make out any lettering either, it appears the original stamp was round, a mark inside a circle.

The R-P of Rheinland-Pfalz was the only one like that I can think of at the moment. Others were square, oval, or coat-of-arms shaped.
 

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It's not the original box or the original manual. And the gun's been refinished at least once, maybe twice.

That's not meant as a criticism. It's just to bring this discussion back to earth. It's a nice gun, but it is what it is.

M
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It's not the original box or the original manual. And the gun's been refinished at least once, maybe twice.

That's not meant as a criticism. It's just to bring this discussion back to earth. It's a nice gun, but it is what it is.

M
Who knows the history completely? When these were sold off as surplus and imported by Interarms, maybe this one went back to the factory for refurbishment. It certainly doesn't look like a pistol that has duty (holster) wear. I have several other pistols in my collection that were completely refurbished, including a CZ-52, Polish TT-33, and a couple of M1895 Nagants. The Russians were famous for refurbishing everything, including thousands, possibly millions of Mosin Nagant rifles. I'm sure when Interarms imported these, they wanted clean, attractive pistols to market to the US public (no doubt, at premium prices for that time). I agree; it is what it is. Nevertheless, as it sits today, it's still a damned elegant weapon built like a fine watch and cool to look at and shoot occasionally. Thanks for your insight.
 

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It could be refinished, but I don‘t think so, at least based on these photos. Americans have a chronic tendency to overestimate the amount of wear you‘d expect to find on a German police pistol. There have been quite a few threads over the years here where otherwise experienced members have confidently diagnosed refinishes on perfectly original German ex-police pistols, because they just looked too nice compared to what a US police revolver looks like after 20 years in an open duty holster.
 

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If it is a R-P mark struck out, it is the most heavily overstruck version that I have seen. In my limited experienice, you can usually still make out the original stamp, but that one is obliterated. Regardless, it is clearly some kind of police or government surplus. These tend to be well maintained by the Germans, and they make fine pistols to own and shoot. The PP’s lines are indeed elegant Art Deco.

As an aside, Mike is obviously correct about the box not being original, it is a Manurhin box. I agree that the finish looks suspect, but it is hard to tell from the photo showing the roll mark (too much reflection and a low-rez upload).
 

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Many of the German police departments never made any particular effort to keep the gun together with the original box. Especially when the guns were being re-issued or disposed of, often they just used any available box and relabeled it with a sticker or tape, as here.

The stamping of the asterisk to cancel the police property mark is itself blued over, and looks "soft". Normally the defacement appears rough, in the white. That tells me that the gun was reblued after it left police service, at some point between 1981 and now-- probably by a previous owner. It was categorically not done by the importer; there was no money to be made in the surplus firearms business by refurbishing a gun for which there is a ready market "as is".

Further indication that the gun is reblued is that the proofmark over the chamber has blue in it. This could have happened at the last rebluing or at one previous. Some of these guns were in service for over 20 years; German police departments did return many to the Walther factory to be rebuilt and refinished as needed. That refinishing was of a very high order and often is detectable only by close examination of the proof marks. The fact that this gun has a relatively low serial number suggests that it saw long service and was a likely candidate for refurbishment during that period.

M
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It could be refinished, but I don‘t think so, at least based on these photos. Americans have a chronic tendency to overestimate the amount of wear you‘d expect to find on a German police pistol. There have been quite a few threads over the years here where otherwise experienced members have confidently diagnosed refinishes on perfectly original German ex-police pistols, because they just looked too nice compared to what a US police revolver looks like after 20 years in an open duty holster.
If it is refinished, it is a bloody professional job. This pistol has a mirror-like finish that is near 100%. I can't see a flaw in it other than the strike-through on the alleged police marking. I could take another higher resolution photo, but there would still be a ton of reflection from any kind of lighting. Just the way this finish is. It reminds me of a couple of S&W revolvers I have from the 1970's; just a near perfect bluing job.
 

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Those early post-war pistols tended to have a high-quality polish relative to the later pistols. The original bluing was also top notch, especially by Manurhin.
 

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The gun obviously didn’t ship in that box, but as Mike says, it’s very likely a department label and the box is at least historically associated with that gun, better than 99% of surplus police and Bw pistols which come with “their original holster”.

As for the refinish, I’ll cede to Mike’s expertise on the little details, but overall, I see nothing in that gun’s condition that would necessarily preclude 20 years of service.

Not to digress too much into history, but if you are at all familiar with the bucolic attitude of German police officers toward their guns from the 1950s to 1970s, when these PPs were in service, you find the idea that any gun could experience enough wear to warrant a refinish quite hard to believe.

Meticulously maintained per regulations, ensconced in their Anuschat-style holsters, rarely ever drawn, 15 rounds a year for qualification. My uncle retired from the uniformed service in NRW in the late 1960s. When he knew he’d just be doing paperwork or going around taking witness statements or such, he didn’t even take his gun, or stuck the gun and holster in his Aktentasche (briefcase) for convenience.

The only original PPs I’ve ever seen that could have used a refinish were from the Wasserschutzpolizei Hamburg (harbor patrol). And there it was the corrosive environment, not use wear, which was the culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I am aware of the impeccable way in which the Germans maintained their assigned weapons on a daily basis. I have a post-war German Border Guard Winchester M-1 Carbine that looks like it came out the factory yesterday and shoots accurately every time without any malfunction.
 

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The major sources of ex-police Walther PP .32 pistols were Hammerli (as a sales agent for SIG/Sauer), Walther and H&K, who took them in trade for new P6, P5 and P7 pistols. Smaller quantities were sold off in Europe to firms like Albrecht Kind, who flipped them to U.S. importers.

Notwithstanding any "bucolic attitude" of the German police, a considerable proportion of these guns were in fact refinished. I can say this from having examined a large number of them as received from Germany. From the consistency and very high quality of the polishing, most likely this refinishing was done at the Walther factory. Being performed in the same factory, using the same methods, same equipment, and probably some of the same workers that were used in applying the original finish, it is often very hard to detect without resort to the small details described.

Incidentally it is not uncommon for factory new guns to be refinished at the factory. If in the course of assembly, test firing, final inspection or proofing, a gun is scratched or marred in some way, it will be returned to the bluing section to be re-done. The buyer will never know.

M
 
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