1921 box of 9 para

catalogizing my 9 para collection i found a box of 9 para (scharfe Pistolenpatrone 08) dated 18. märz 1921

i received this box from an other collector, so i can not be sure the content is “like packed 1921” or mixed up within the last years.
so asking the specialists:

is it possible to find in an box dated 18/3/1921 labeled Dm (DWM Karlsruhe)
–2pc geco 1/17
–1pc geco 3/18
–1pc geco 12/16
–1pc dwm 7/18
–1pc dwm 7/17
–1pc dwm 8/17
–1pc dwm 11/17
–1pc cassel 8/17
–1pc rhein. metallwarenfabrik (code “H”) 2/18
–3pc spandau 1/18
–1pc spandau 9/17
–2pc spandau 4/18

in my eyes, it looks like an collectors-collection mixed up in an partly filled (4 DWM cartridges) old original DWM box
according to my information 1921 they used up old war-production hangover cartridges to fill them into the boxes
so i belive that the old box with the 4 DWM cartridges are a family since about 100 years, all other cartridges were plunged to the box from an collector in the last years

sturgees wrote in his book that it is possible that DWM produced 1921 for the police and filled commercial headstamped (DWM K 480C K) cartridged in such boxes
in this way all actual filled rounds are incorrect filling …

any ideas ???

regards from austria



I think that old cartridges were not put in the box in 1921 but they were loaded.

The first indication is the loading date, March 18th 1921 and the primer, made in 1921.
The powder came from stock (1918) and probably also the cases and bullets.

Probably Lew and John have better information.


The label clearly says “Hülsen: Dm.” which means that all cartridges in the box had DWM (Dm = Deutsche Metallpatronenfabrik) made cases, when it left the factory. The “Zdh” and “Gesch” items say the same about primers and bullet origin.

The collection of headstamps found in the box is not original in my view.

I think none of the cartridges you found in the box are original to the box. I have two versions of this box. One is dated 8 Januar 1921 and has a note that it contained the DWM K 480C K headstamp with serifs. The other, dated 25 Fegruar 1921, was a full, sealed box I opened myself and it contains the same cartridges but with two slightly different headstamp styles mixed in the box (see below). I also have documented a 1 Feb 1921 box with DWM K 480C K headstamped cartridges and another dated 4 Feb 21 with the same headstamps, but the rounds in this box are a combination of GMCS and CNCS bullets! Likely they were using up old bullets. My 25 Feb 21 box is all GMCS bullets. All of these are loaded with 1920 primers instead of the 1921 primers indicated on the box above. It is interesting that these military style boxes have ammunition with commercial headstamps.

There are very similar boxes from Spandau in the same time-frame like the one illustrated below.

Although the label indicate they were loaded by Spandau I believe. The components are shown as made by Spandau. The primers are from 1918. I have three of this style box. One, dated 24 Mar 21 is empty. The one illustrated above, and another dated 11 Dec 20 are are full and original. The one above I opened some time ago and was surprised to see the headstamps were as follows:
DWA 11. 20. (4 each)
DWA 12. 20. (6 each)
DWA 1. 21. (5 each)
S 9 18 (1 each)

The 11 Dec 20 box was sealed but I opened it also tonight. It contained the following:
DWA 11. 20. (2 each)
DWA 12. 20. (1 each)
The rest were assorted Spandau 1918 headstamps from 1 18 to 11 18 with most (8) being 9 18.

Clearly they were also using up left-over components.

Since these boxes have the same date range as the boxes above. The DWA boxes are reportedly for the “new” post war army. I wonder if the DWM boxes were not loaded for the same purpose.

There sure is a lot we don’t know about what really was going on in this period. Remember, it was 1921 when Polte started making Ex cartridges. Most had the typical Ex head with no primer pocket, but specimens are known dated Nov 1921 that are plated dummies using a normal ball case. Sure looks like Polte was making sure it could produce ball ammunition.

Any additional information is appreciated.


good morning

thank’s to you all, answering to my concern.
special thank’s to lew, who gave me exact the answer i hoped to get.
it’s a pleasure to stay in contact with people which are trying to preserve not only “the old things” but also the background storys connected to this "old stuff"
aside preserving this old bullets we have a responsibility to conserve as much of knowledge around

without lew’s knowledge my box of old ammunition can not be judged
thank you lew for sharing your knowledge with us …

ref.: the DWM box
yesterday i picked up again my sturgees reading about this time in ammunition production
on page 1744 he wrote “… in view of the commercial DWM headstamp, but military labeling of the carton and the military black primer annulus coloring, not found on commercial ammunition at this date, and not to be confused with the later application of “öldicht” oil proofing sealer in the 1930’s, it is quite probable that this ammunition was early contract production for the police, who had begun to aquire 9mm P08’s from the berlin factory at this time …”

for me this all means, that i have up from now an orphaned box in my collection :-)

ref.: the DW.Sp (Deutsche Werke Spandau) box
i checked my collection and found a similar situation, an open 28.02.1921 box filled with an mix of 1920/1921 DWA and 1918 Spandau headstamps
but remember, i got the box open, and i preserved the condition from that moment on i got it, not knowing what happend the years before.
so my box can give you only and hint to that what was packed originaly 100 years before to that box
again i/we are dependent on specialists like lew, who collect, preserve, open up originaly closed boxes and document this for us all.

regrads from austria