German WW1 and earlier ammunition, how rare is it?

I’m looking to add some Imperial German ammunition to some displays in my collection. Specifically boxed 9mm for a luger and loose 8mm for a Gewehr 98. Am I overly ambitious to think I can get these without paying a fortune?

No, in my view you are not overly ambitious. Both were made in large numbers during WW1 and many still exist in the U.S. Typical run of the mill boxes/cartridges should be no problem. “8 mm” for the rifle cartridge was only used by Kaiserliche Marine; the army called it “7.9 mm” from 1888 through 1945.
Side note: looking up Werner Forssmann in Wikipedia might interest you.

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Good information. The blue box 9mm for the luger seems to be the more elusive of the two for me lately. And I’m very familiar with the history of Dr. Forssmann, his contribution to cardiac health was absolutely nuts and brave at the same time.

The cost of a WWI 9mm P08 box depends to a great degree on the condition and the manufacturer. 1917 and 1918 ammunition by the manfacturers like Spanday, DWK, RMS and Geco (GeD) are least expensive. I see them more often at the European meetings than in he US. A reasonable box would be about 50 euros or so. A nice box may go twice that or more. They use to be more common in the US but most of the ones I have seen here turned up in Germany.

Good Luck,

Lew, you must be referring to empty boxes for that price?

Some empty and some full. Empty boxes are some cheaper. Most boxes I have seen most being well over half, are partially full or full (though not necessarily with the correct cartridges). I did say 50 or more for a common box in reasonable shape. I recently paid well over 150 euros for some MW boxes in reasonable plus shape.

Perhaps my definition of "Reasonable shape is different from yours! A box with the center of the label missing but most information there and in very readable condition to be “reasonable condition”

I am talking about the selling price, not the asking price. I have seen on a US auction a 1917 RWS box in excellent shape offered with a starting bid of $1000. There were no bids. At the last German meeting I saw a number of relatively common WWI boxes that were in nice condition offered for 200 euros each. The same boxes had been at a number of previous shows and obviously had not sold.

Ultimately, the price depends on how badly you want it. A very subjective subject.


Update for you Guys. I found a box! Full, sealed, pull tab intact, fantastic condition, and shrink wrapped for protection. Thanks for the help with my original post.


That is truly an extra ordinary box. Most

WW1 boxes I see are 1917 & 1918. I don’t think I have ever seen a mint. sealed 1916 Spandau box before! Well done!!!

The Luger is also beautiful! No lug! Could it be a 1909 DWM???


I forgot one more picture of the metal reinforcements and the pull tab insertion.
The Luger is a 1913 Erfurt. It has a stock lug, just a little hard to see at this angle. One of the mags is matching to the gun. I just need to find a 1913 holster and I’ll be set, but this ammo is really the icing on the cake for this rig.

Forssmann - A very beautiful Luger. I had a 1913 Erfurt years ago - my very first Luger, which was the beginning of an auto pistol collection, now gone. Don’t pass by any really nice WWI (Brown) Luger holster. It is a myth that the correct holster for any pistol is only that with the same date. Holsters were a separate item in the supply chain and were issued to troops at random - that is, there was no effort to match the date of the holster to that of the pistol being issued. My only Luger was captured in N. Africa during the Casablanca landings, and is “as issued”. The pistol is date 41; the holster is dated 1939. The rig, including belt, is exactly how it was taken from a German Corporal (his rank and name are written inside the lid) only (approximately) one year after the pistol was made. In fact, he had painted the holster originally with the yellowish Africa Korps vehicle paint, although much of it is gone. The holster did its job and protected the pistol, so is not in the excellent plus condition, although it is not bad. I wouldn’t trade that holster for ten mint ones all dated the same as the pistol!

I agree with Lew. That box is outstanding, not just in condition, but for age. While I have not sought them out specifically, I find I have no WWI-vintage box for P-08 ammunition dated earlier than 1917, other than one specifically for the Kriegsmarinen and of a somewhat different label format. Great find. Also excellent pictures!

John Moss

Thanks for your comments. This was my first luger too. A 1913 holster is just my personal preference, though I know of some 1916 and 1917 dated ones on the market now that I’ve considered picking up.
Regarding the ammo…the seller and I were originally discussing a deal on some singles, then he showed me this box just as a reference. I wouldnt have been able to sleep at night if I hadn’t at least made an offer. Lucky for me, he accepted it! I collect German Imperial militaria, and this box is by far the rarest piece I have, though certainly not the most expensive. My search continues however, I’m trying to find some ammo for a mauser 1910/14 and a gewehr 98 at for similar displays.

Wild Coincidence! My first Luger pistol which I still have is a 1913 Erfurt that I bought for $30 in 1956 when I was 15 years old. Not in nearly the condition of yours, but well loved. A few years ago I had an opportunity to buy a 1909 DWM without the lug, later dated 1920. If I could ever find an American Eagle 1902 in 9mm that I could afford I would be happy. There was one sold a couple of years ago, restored but with the correct mag, which I bid $2500 for and it sold for just a couple of hundred above that. I should have bid considerable more since I will never see another I could afford.
Congrats on a great rig.