Image Lot Price Description
Revised: 3/7/2014 

Please Note: The caliber is 7.63 Mauser not mentioned in the catalog.


SN 189. Mauser made fewer than 200 step barrel C96s with most numbered in the serial range 1-200. This 10 shot example has a 5.5” barrel with a fixed front sight and a pinned 1-10 rear sight. “System Mauser” is hand inscribed over the chamber that has been struck with a large Crown/U proof on the left side. Externally the serial number is repeated on the firing pin retainer and in large hand inscribed numerals on the backstrap over the stock slot. The extractor, bolt stop, cursor/rear sight, firing pin retainer, safety and grip screw are fire blued. The trigger is strawed while the hammer and subframe are gray case hardened. Extensive disassembly shows all matching parts including the grips. This gun has several unusual features. Unlike other System Mauser pistols that have an open rear recess on the left side of the frame, this gun has the raised island typical of later guns. Another unusual feature relates to the grips. Most step barrel guns have checkered grips. As production shifted to the tapered chamber, Mauser changed the grips to serrated panels, whereby the serrations were perpendicular to the grip axis. The serrations on these grips, unquestionably factory original, angle upward to parallel the barrel axis. The matching stock has a unique long neck and lug, unique to the early guns, that has a narrower-than-usual upper arm and a broader-than-usual lower arm. The matching number is hand inscribed on the fire blued lid hinge. A transitional feature relates to the lid release. The earliest step barrel guns were sold with a reverse opening stock whose lid latch incorporated only a narrow button. The button on this stock has the fuller, checkered form as subsequently became standard. The gun, stock and original Putzstock come in a full leather bound oak presentation case lined in red felt with Cogswell and Harrison London trade label on inner lid, compartmentalized for ammo boxes (not present) and an early developmental “fat” Putzstock. Case lid embossed in black “F.R.S”, the original owner being Frederick Richard Simms, 1863 – 1944, British engineer, founder of the UK Daimler Motor Syndicate, collaborator with Gottlieb Daimler in early motor car development, founder of UK Royal Automobile Club, designer of first armoured “car”, the Motor Scout, an 1899 DeDion quadricycle mounting a Maxim gum with armour shield, etc. etc. PROVENANCE: F. R. Simms family, Sotheby’s, London sale Dec 1988, Collection of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess. CONDITION: Stunning 99% bright original blue with negligible loss along the leading edge of the floorplate and on the backstrap where in contact with the stock lug. Same extraordinary condition applies to the fire blued small parts and strawed trigger. Numbered grips (both penciled and stamped-standard for these guns) retain virtually all the original varnish with minor handling marks. Perfect bore and mechanics. Exceptionally nice and all original and matching stock, no staining, cracks or losses, with vivid fire blued lug and hinge. Crisp case shows only minimal internal staining and few external dings. This British cased set is undoubtedly the best stepped barrel System Mauser rig in existence, an antique whose attraction and unique provenance should transcend the gun collecting community. 4-52102 LMA136 (75,000-100,000) – Lot 3035

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Auction: Firearms - Spring 2014
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.