Help Id 9 para Box


Who can help me to identify this box ?


I have a similar box from 1940:

16 Scharfe Pistolenpatronen 08
N.1.L. 40
Nz. Stb. P. Rottw. 2. L. 40
Patrh.: N.40 Gesch.: N.40 Zhd.: N. S. 40

Note on mine that “Pistolenpatronen” is spelled out, and it does NOT have the /. symbols before the o8.

Cartridge is Ball, GMCS FMJ RN, brass case, copper “O” primer, with black primer seal. Headstamp is R.W.S. • 1 40

I believe these were possibly for the Police, rather than the Wehrmacht. I suspect that the cartridges in your box will have a similar headstamp dated from 1937. There are variations to the format of this headstamp style.

That label looks very un-German to me, as if made by someone who does not speak German.
Especially the /. before 08 is very strange. Also the printer obviously did not know that “Nz Stb P” belong together. Instead of “Pist.patr.” to a German it would be obviously "Pist.Patr."
The font also seems to be not right.

I know that anything is possible. But I doubt it to be German.

The font used in the two top lines are either Eurostile og Microgramma both designed by italian Aldo Novarese. Microgramma was released in 1952 and Eurostile in 1962. Both have been popular for signs etc in science fiction movies and TV.
It is the first time I’ve seen it on ammo boxes though.

At first glance, that box label looked very good. But then, I know little or nothing about printing fonts, never having studied them in my life. I have about 110 German (or occupied country) 9 mm boxes in my own collection, a small collection by any standard considering the hundreds of different labels that are found on these boxes. Not one of mine has a font anything like that box, nor do I have a single box on which “Pistolenpatronen” is not spelled out, as I have just done. That is, not one single box abbreviates it, not even withstanding that the abbreviation shown is evidently grammatically flawed.

We learn some new every day. If the printing is one of the two fonts mentioned, both introduced years after the end of WWII, is what is on that box, than it is an obvious fake. If thefont is actually one that existed then, the use of the abbreviation, which is not on the fairly contemporary box from RWS in my own collection, still makes the label suspect.

A shame. It is a very nice looking box! If it were mine, I would open it to examine the contents (it appears to be a sealed box, but admittedly, no mention was made of whether or not it is full or empty), and if not from RWS, then it most certainly would increase the likelihood that the label is faked.

Just my opinion and two cents worth.

Setting the label aside as problematic, there’s then the box itself. Is a box with metal reinforced corners likely (or plausible) for use in boxing cartridges in 1937 Germany? Jack

Does anyone know if a RWS headstamp from 1937 is reported to exist? It doesn’t seem to be the case, so if the label is fake this could be a very convenient “mistake”.

For me it is an over labelled WW1 box, and the cartridges were made for the police.

Could they have a GECO head stamp?

Dutch - How to explain the printing font, if it is in truth a post-WWII Italian style, and abbreviation of “Pistolenpatronen,” which does not seem to have been done on these labels?

This is a box that cries out to be opened.

[quote=“JohnMoss”]Dutch - How to explain the printing font, if it is in truth a post-WWII Italian style, and abbreviation of “Pistolenpatronen,” which does not seem to have been done on these labels?

This is a box that cries out to be opened.[/quote]

I can not. It is the first 37 label I ever see.

John, this is the same label as yours.
It is also a WW1 style box. The type of characters is different.

You are right, to solve the problem, carefully take a look inside.


Here are the similar boxes in my collection:

Note they all have a very different script and a different layout from the box in question.

Having said that, it would not be the first time that the initial production had a screwed up label, and this would have been the initial production.

I have never seen the headstamp that goes with this box dated before 1938. All my boxes have headstamps which include RWS lot and year, except for the 41 box. I have never seen any RWS headstamp dated 1937. The real test here is to see what is in the box. If it is a 1937 dated round than I’m willing to accept that the box label may also be correct. And, I would be very interested in it.

It is worth lifting the staple on the top for a look.

Lacking a 1937 dated round I would have serious questions.

Note that between the wars, RWS commercial 9mm and probably contract 9mm was produced by Geco under a agreement between the two companies. These are also probably made by Geco since the 1941 load is in a P405 (Geco) case. It should be noted that Geco did produce 9mm P08 with the P405 code in 1937, and since these are likely Geco made cartridges, it is possible this box containes P405 1937 dated headstamps or RWS 37 dated headstamps, and that would convince me.


Well, since the ECRA meeting, I am the “proud” owner of this box. The short answer if that Soren and JPeelen are correct, the label is FAKE!!!

I pulled a staple and looked at the headstamps. They are correct for the manufacturer on the label but not for the year. The headstamp is “R.W.S. . 1 40”. Short of having a time machine, it isn’t possible to have loaded this ammunition in 1937. I lifted parts of the label with a model brush and water anc could find no evidence of a previous label. The fact that the ammunition was clearly visible confirms for me it was an intentional fake.

I asked a friend, who originally posted this box, to purchase it for me if the price was reasonable and he was kind enough to do this. The box could have gone through a number of hands before it reached the most recent seller, whose name I do not know.

This is just the most recent of a number of German 16 round boxes that have turned up over the past number of years that were fake. Most like this one can be spotted as likely fakes just by their appearance and the details on the headstamp.

Gold Stars for JPeelen and Soren!


Hey Lew,

Did you shine a black light on the label? That is a really good Check. Most modern papers have polymers in them, and when hit with a black light, glow brightly. There are cases where paper withoutolymers are currently made, so it is not a perfect test. It has been helpful to me in the past and I have detected some fake 7,92 labels with that method.


Dak, I’d heard that worked. I had brought a black light specifically for that. I turned out the lights downstairs and shined it on this label and on a legit label and couldn’t notice any difference. Maybe I’m just inept but that test didn’t work for me.



For the label on the suspect box does the ink sit on top of paper or is it in the paper as discussed here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=17471 ?


Re: steel toothed re-inforcement of corners: typical of many Euro Countries in the 1900 to 1950 period (Portugal, Holland to name a few) especially on larger packs of 7,9mm,.303 and 6,5x53R ( Examples I have and have noted elsewhere. Usually present because of the softer nature of the “board” used, and the corner creases likely to separate more easily.

If the ID of the Type Font is correct, placing it into the 1950s, could this ammo be a Third Party re-labelling, due to loss or deterioration of original labels? or even repacking>

Portugal did buy a lot of RWS ammo from 1937 onwards, due to changeover to 7,9mm and 9mm Para in their Armed Forces.

The Lot Ids on the Packet for the components indicate “N” (Nurnberg) and “S” (Stadeln Plant)??? ( Known RWS sites)

One other matter, if it was Portuguese, I suppose the relabelling would be in Portuguese Language, Not German??? And if it was “original”, what other existing Type Font of the 1930s could be confused with an Italian “New font” of the '50s? There are so many type fonts which are almost identical, but developed by different People, in different Countries, in differing eras…

A conundrum…only by seeing many more packs like this, withalso the HS of the contents, can a determination be made ( we hope).

Doc AV

I don’t see any sign of flaking in the printing on this box label. I have compared this box and the metal reinforcements to other RWS boxes of this style like the ones I pictured earlier. The box is identical, but the cardboard looks more worn than most of my boxes. The paper used in the label is much smoother and less “softer” to use DocAV’s description. The result is the edges of the letters are much sharper than on original labels. My guess is that it is printed on a laser printer.

The big giveaway, and the reason I was skeptical from the beginning is the letter style. The top line on the original labels is in what I refer to al Old German Script, while the fake label is in normal western letter styles with for example. As pointed out by others, there are a lot of things wrong with the label.

I suspect the creator of this label acquired this box, with no label or only a residue of the original label. He found someone, not a German speaker, who had a more or less complete label and was sent a handwritten copy. As he worked on a replacement label for his box, he found that the top line which spelled Pistolenpatronen was too long in the font he selected so he abbreviated it. His letter spacing and punctuation in the label is also wrong indicating he was working from a hand written, and not very accurate copy and not a photo of the original. The question is why he selected a 1937 date!!!

Like others, I had strong suspicions that the label was not original from the beginning, but the date was interesting. The mystery was the “37” date. He must have known the cartridges had a “40” date. With the mistakes on the label, it seems unlikely that he was knowledgeable enough to know that legit boxes only dated back to 1938. The quesiton in my mind was whether this box did contain '37 headstamped cartridges, or whether the hand written copy he used to create this label had a '37 date on it, which now seems the likely answer.

The box was likely made to go with a pistol and the 1937 date could have simply been selected to match the pistol. There was likely no evil intent involved. I suspect gun collectors are the source of many, perhaps most, of our “fake” boxes. An example is up for auction at

I seriously doubt this is a repack. The cartridges match the box construction, and the label indicates pre-WWII loading. The repacked 9mm ammo I am familiar with (Danish, Greek, Norway, Finland and many others) has a label in the language of the repacker and usually has the date of the repack. Even the German repacked 9mm from before WWII identifies the ammunition as a repack.

Regardless, this box is interesting to me. Perhaps Chassepot can learn more about the origin of the box. Myself, I will keep it and label it as a relatively poor reproduction.

Other thoughts appreciated.

Finally, I know this style box was produced in 1942. If anyone has or knows of one, please let me know. A friend sent me a photo of a '42 box, but I’d like to acquire one for my collection, or at least document other examples to see if there are variations.