Help Needed Dating Geco & RWS Rds Using Boxes Codes

This topic is a continuation of one started in
G.G & Co or GECO

The original question was how to date the various commercial RWS and Geco headstamps from before 1946. Since the date code structure for most wartime and pre-WWII boxes is known some of us have put together a project to try to list the various Autopistol headstamps from pre-1946 and use images from the boxes and their codes to document when the various headstamp styles were in use. An example are the early post-WWI hsts on Geco 6,35B cartridges. There are two styles, one with the “D” on the top and one with the “D” on the bottom as illustrated below.

We have documented the following boxes listed by Date codes:
AE22 - Loaded 1921-3 top D & 7 bottom D
AE31 - Loaded 1921-2 top D & 22 bottom D
BR27 - Loaded 1922-sealed and opened for this study-27 bottom D
Undated (English language label) Loading date unknown-25 top D cartridges

We can tenatively conclude:
– The Bottom D was in use before the Top D headstamp
– The few Top D’s in the 1921 boxes were likely mixed in after the box was open
– The Bottom D headstamp was in use in 1921 and 1922
– The Top D headstamp was probably introduced after 1922

More boxes with this headstamp would allow a more certain conclusion.

Available Data is indicated below.

Note 1
The trademark “GECO” was registered by G. Genschow in 1922 but had been used since 1919
Note 2
In the “Sinoxid” trademark registration the Genschow company claims use since April 16, 1930. First documented in 1931 dated
cartridge. Another 1931 pistol cartridge has a primer without the ring. .
Note 3
In 1927 a contract was made between RWS and Gustav Genschow & Co (Geco). The content of this agreement was as
follows: The pistol cartridges and shotshells of both companies would be manufactured in the Durlach plant of Genschow and
the rimfire-, revolver-, and Flobert-cartridges, the primers, cases and air gun pellets of both would be manufactured in the
RWS plants in Nuremberg and Stadeln. The shotshell cases of RWS were still manufactured in Nuremberg. This contract
applied from 1929 onwards.

The data used so far came from only five collectors. If Forum members dug out their pre-1946 RWS and Geco boxes. we would all know a lot more about the headstamps these two companies used between WWI and WWII.

We particularly need confirmation of more headstamps and boxes from this period.

We really need your help and support.

As we get more box and headstamp information, I will update the information above.


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I realize that the text version of the headstamps, Particularly those with the dots, are not very precise. Below are images of some of these headstamps (those most likely to be misunderstood) along with the text version used above.


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There is a new and much expanded list of Geco and RWS autopistol headstamps posted in the opening post of this topic.

The light gray items are from John Moss. He sent me an extensive Word document of the Geco & RWS autopistol cartridges from his collection, in addition to some new boxes.

You will notice the listing is now by caliber. The last listing posted was by headstamp style. My intention was to use it to identify headstamp styles by year. i realized that it made it difficult for the reader to see if his box was already listed.

The current list is now by caliber which should make it easier for you to check a box against this list.

In addition we have included some dated headstamps since they could help in dating similar headstamps.

It is obvious how many different headstamps there are and how many have NO DATED BOX DOCUMENTED!

Please help by checking your Geco and RWS boxes against this list. As we start seeing more significant trends, I will post them also.

As a side benefit, you have, what I consider, an excellent list of Geco & RWS headstamps. If you have one or more that are not posted, please let me know, or post it on this topic.

Cheers, and Thanks,



Lew - thanks for posting this.