Skip to comments.Rare Howard Hughes Hellís Angels Luger Pistol to be Auctioned
Posted on 06/25/2011 9:47:17 AM PDT by marktwain
Michigan --(Ammoland.com)- A rare German Luger pistol once owned by aviation pioneer Howard Hughes could reach new heights when it goes up for auction in Solana Beach, Calif. on September 1, 2011 from Craig Gottlieb Militaria Auctions.
The iconic handgun was used in the 1930 epic World War I film Hells Angels, which Hughes directed.
The gun was used in the final scene of the Hollywood blockbuster that introduced actress Jean Harlow to the silver screen. It was one of the most expensive talkies ever produced. It was also notable for introducing the phrase excuse me while I put on something more comfortable into the American lexicon.
The history of the gun is also unique. It was once owned by Hells Angels screenwriter Joseph March, who received the Luger from Hughes as a gift. The written provenance that comes with the Luger is thus excellent. Included with this famous gun is a letter from the screenwriters family, including the family member who sold it to a collector in 1992. But, the most compelling provenance is the movie itself.
When you play back the scene frame-by-frame, you can easily make out the unique features of this rare model Luger, says Gottlieb, noting the slender barrel, unique grip safety and the shape of the other features, which are unique to this rare pistol. If Hughes had used a regular Luger, we would never know if this was really the same gun.
The letter that accompanies the Luger states that Hughes gave it to March in the 1930s as a token of appreciation following the film.
Gottlieb places a conservative estimate of $50,000 on the gun, and notes that a pistol owned by gangster Al Capone recently sold for almost $110,000 at auction in London. He is no stranger to exotic collectibles, and he recently obtained the desk set that was used by Adolf Hitler to sign the Munich Agreement in 1938, and this set will also be up for auction in September.
Now well see if the sky is the limit for the Luger.
Peter Suciu is executive editor of FirearmsTruth.com, a website that tracks and monitors media bias against guns and our Second Amendment rights. Visit: FirearmsTruth.com
Also be sure and read Peters newest book Americas Road to Fascism: From the Progressives to the Era of Hope and Change
Sounds interesting...BUT, #2,757,945 in Books and it is begging for its first customer review!
Thanks for the pic.
I see it has the original rare wooden bottom magazine.Those are really hard to find.
Sad state for such a pretty pistol.
What class machining. The aesthetics overwhelm....
Years ago when Erma came out with its 22 model I bought one. Same problem, jamming. I finally sold it. I must say, they are good looking guns though.
Exactly. European loads are light for caliber high velocity sub-machine gun rounds that can also be applied to pistols.
Most Americans have the peculiar notion that a pistol should hit that at which you aim, penetrate to it’s vitals, and stop what ever nonsense gave you cause to shoot, and then let you get ready for what happens next. That leads to heavier bullets launched at lower speeds.
Good work can be done by both concepts. Napoleon, recognizing that more men are scared off than killed off said “The Morale is the the Materiel as three is to one.”
I always thought that the Luger was a beautiful gun. Not the best mechanically maybe, but beautiful to look at.
But she looks... “tired” ;-)
Spanish Largo is 9x23, Parabellum is 9x19.
The display of ignorance about Lugers on this thread is amusing. The gun in question is an early model, which is rarer and worth more than an ordinary military model from either world war, but the auctioneer has a questionable reputation in collecting circles. Somebody with more money than sense will buy this gun.
BTW, Lugers are ammunition sensitive, but 115 grain Winchester white box ammo usually works fine.
Kinda like R. L. Wilson, who can now tell you the value of rare Colts in cigarette equivalents? ;)
What about R.L. Wilson?
I picked up 4 different volumes for $4.95 each in the remainder rack. I figure a tad more than a dollar a pound for all the great photos.
He got to the point where rare Colts were “worth what he said they were worth”, and was involved in a deal that turned out too sweet for him.
He served a year. When he got out he was tried on a spearate matter in KY but was acquitted.
Guy gets to play with cool guns for a living and gets greedy all the same.
Thanks for the info. Makes me feel even better about buying his books from the remaindered stack.
They’re pretty stuff, got several myself.
***Everyone knows you can’t get two magazines through one of these without it jamming.****
If I remember my history correctly, the Luger was originaly made in 30 cal Luger and it worked fine. Then the Germans wanted it in 9mm and the problems began.
Also, the original Luger would not work with soft nose ammo so the German government began to call for a change to the rules of war. They wanted all soft nosed ammo banned. They were successful and that is why soft nose ammo for military use is a violation of Hague convention rules of war.
You can blow them to pieces!
Burn them with napalm and phosphorus!
Run over them with tanks!
But you CAN’T kill them with soft nosed ammo! It is not humane.
Sure you can shoot it without jamming. The problem is that modern ammunition is not made hot enough for these guns. The recoil springs are designed for hotter ammunition than available today so it ends up frequently jamming. If they loaded to original pressures, it would not be a problem.
So what is so rare about this P08 Luger beyond his having owned it. It looks like a garden variety Swiss Luger in .30 Luger to me. Not common, but I wouldn’t call it rare. I don’t see what justifies the guy saying that if Hughes had used a “regular” Luger, as if their aren’t 500 variations of Lugers. But it is not as if this is the .45 Luger or something.
What makes this gun so unique? Isn’t this just one of thousands of Swiss Lugers?
So instead of 6.0 grains of Unique, one should use 7.0 grains?
If that's the case I'll hunt one of these up for a reasonable price and give it a try.
I don’t reload. Ask on a firearms or Luger website and I’m sure some nice folks will give you an appropriate load to begin with and work up.
>>> If I remember my history correctly, the Luger was originaly made in 30 cal Luger and it worked fine. Then the Germans wanted it in 9mm and the problems began.
The Luger company competed with the American pistol manufacturers when the US Army asked for prototypes to be tested, and the winner to become the new US sidearm. Perhaps this is why the .45 cal Lugers lost the shootout to the M1911.
Just don’t try firing surplus 9mm submachine gun ammo (or, heaven forbid, modern 9mm NATO) in a Luger. The gun probably won’t blow up...but its life will be shortened quickly and considerably.
I understand 9mm NATO is quickly bringing the service career of the legendary Browning High-Power to an end for the same reason. It just beats the hell out of the guns.
Yes, it was so tested. There were five .45 Lugers made up for the trials. From what I hear they lost out because they were a non-native design, and also because Deutsche Waffen und Munitionen was not interested in issuing an American license; ergo, we would have been dependent on a foreign supplier for our military’s pistols.
Of the five .45 trial Lugers, two are known to survive today. To my knowledge both are in private hands, and are worth nearly a million apiece.