Cyphers, Acceptance and Proofs
The subject of acceptance and proofing is the most important element of German military rifle research, almost everything relevant about a rifle under discussion comes down to these markings found on the rifle and various components. Although this is an indisputable fact, it is also indisputable that very few collectors fully appreciate the importance of acceptance in an evaluation. Even the distinction between the three terms is lost upon most collectors, who casually use “proof” for any marking found on a rifle.
In view of this observation, the following will outline the differences and relative importance of the three general forms of markings that determine a rifles originality and ultimately value. This blog post will focus on the Imperial era, however a lengthy article is available that covers 1870-1945, which will feature in the Winter 2017 MRJ (Issue 214).
Gewehr98 production is perhaps one of the most interesting of the 1898-1919 period. The reasons are many, but perhaps most of all due to its relationship with the German Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine). DWM was the primary supplier of Gewehr98’s to the KM prior to the war; although a handful of Erfurt (1899) and Mauser Oberndorf (1910-1911) rifles are known to have been made.
The vast majority of rifles delivered to the Kaiserliche Marine prior to 1908 were manufactured by DWM, they are known in number every year from 1899-1908, except for the year 1900, and they are amongst the scarcest and most desirable rifles of the period. Due to the fact that the state arsenals were making most of the Gewehr98’s for the Prussian Army, the patent holders (DWM and Mauser were the only commercial makers making the Modell98 due to their ownership of the patent) were left to fend for themselves. DWM having a relationship with the Kaiserliche Marine due to the P.04 (Pistole 1904 Navy Luger) and the MG08 (Maxim), they found a willing buyer working for the German Navy. Mauser Oberndorf found a client with the Württemberg Army, neither client was a large contract and relatively few rifles were made by either firm until the Modell98 carbine was taken up by the state arsenals. Fortunately, the firms were well positioned to make a lot of money on the switch, their parent company, Ludwig Loewe AG made the machines for the arsenals, and the process took sometime to undertake. DWM and Mauser Oberndorf production of the Gewehr98, for the Prussians start to develop in number starting in 1905, though it isn’t until 1906-1907 that production is significant.
Welcome to our new website, we have been down for awhile but it was necessary for updating the website. We have set up this site with a new feature, I will try and do a short blog every week or so to keep new information on our website, especially while Gewehr98.com is down during its update.
The Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) was initially formed from the Prussian Navy in the 1870’s, it was an Imperial force, unlike the Imperial era German Army, which was made up of the Armies of Prussia, Saxony, Württemberg and Bavaria, united under the Kaiser only in emergencies. Originally the Imperial German Navy was a rather small force, funded by the Imperial German parliament (Reichstag) rather than the individual state legislatures, and really didn’t become an ocean going force before the turn of the 20th Century, when Germany began upon an expansion program “for its place in the sun”, party in response to its trade rivalry with Britain and its quest for a colonial empire. The timing was perfect in relation to the Gewehr98, the First Naval Bill was put forward on December 6, 1897 and passed in 1898, it was followed by subsequent Naval Laws that great expanded the German Navy.