Two Similar 6.35B Boxes-One Geco and one Roth!

I was looking through my 6.35 boxes searching for Geco date codes when I realized the box I was holding was a G Roth box, not a Geco box. But the similarity to a 1932 Geco box appeared too surprising to be accidental. Even the separator inside the tray looks the same.

I don’t know of any relationship between Geco and Roth at this time. The Roth cartridge is marked “GR (intwined) 6.32” with a brass primer. The cartridge from the Geco box is marked “Geco. 6.35.” with a copper Sinoxid primer. Both have CN bullets but surprisingly, to me, the Roth bullet is magnetic and the Geco bullet is not.

It occured to me that perhaps the ammo was made by Geco for Roth, but there is no box code on the base of the Roth box, and Geco put their box date code on the bottom of boxes they made for both RWS and S&B-S so it seems likely they would do the same for pistol ammo they made for Roth.

Many of the Forum members know a great deal more than I do about the relationship between European ammo companies in the 1930s. Why would Roth copy a Geco box pattern??? Hard data would be wonderful, but speculation also appreciated.

Cheers,
Lew


Roth-Geco-L

Roth-Geco-R

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Below is a picture of a G. Roth box basically the same as yours, except the basic color of the box is green, rather than blue. My box, which is full, also has no lot number or date code anywhere on it. The cartridges match the description of those in your box, except that they have no headstamp at all - CNCS FMJ RN bullet, brass case, brass primer, no visible seals.

The side labels appear to have the same content as yours, including the two orange stripes that circle the box. The side label missing on your box but present on mine has, to me, an odd rendition of the G. Roth trademark. I will post a scan of it here, as an after-thought.

I have no idea as to the “Why” of these boxes.

6.35 Roth Geco Style Box

6.35 Roth Box TM side label

John Moss

A very NEAT box John. & nothing wrong with yours Lew. I just like to color combinations & the logo.

sorry no help with an answer.

I have the same green box as John.
No code
Mine has
19 NHS cartridges
flat brass primer
cncs.
not sure if these are original to box not

Bob - Since my box is full, and contains the same cartridges your box does, I think we can draw the conclusion that the unheadstamped cartridge in box of them are the correct ammunition for the box, and with that many in it (25 in my box, 19 in yours), original to the boxes.

John Moss

Lew, Can we see a picture of this GR 6.35 headstamp?
Or is it one of these?

GR / * / * / (two stars 3 /)

GR / . / . / . / (3 dots 4 /)

GR * * * ( 3 stars no /)
Thanks! Dan

Badger - The FN box really has no connection with the G. Roth Box. They are similar in color and they both are for 25 cartridges, and there the similarity really ends. There are a number of different FN box designs for 6.35 mm (.35 Auto) and from European makers, before fairly recent times, the 25-round capacity was pretty standard.

Nice pistol, and the connection to you family makes it nicer yet. I think that version of the Melior, especially in the lovely condition its in, is pretty scarce.

Edited to correct a grammatical error only.

John

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Dan, It is just as I wrote it. GR at top and 6.35 at the bottom, both oriented the same way.No other lines or stars or dots on the headstamp. The Geco headstamp is almost identical in layout except it has a period after both “Geco” and “6.35”.

Dan, Sorry-I wrote this last night but got interrupted and didn’t post it.

Cheers,
Lew

Thanks Lew,
Another to look for!

Pete and John,
Thanks for posting your greenish Roth box images. I sure wish we could date them.

I am going to offer one theory for the Roth box, and the strange color of your boxes. The blue Geco box I show is a very well known label in both 6.35 and 7.65 Browning and the identical box styles but with a red background ccure on RWS boxes made by Geco and are known with dates as early as 1929 for Geco and 1931 for RWS and as late as 1939 for Geco and 1944 for RWS. The Geco box is illustrated in the 1932 catalog. It was clearly a well known and widely sold item in the 1930s.

I don’t know when Roth began selling their 6.35mm rounds, but I can imagine that they could have changed the style of their box to look more like the Geco box in an attempt to improve their sales. The two are too close in style for it to be an accident. I imagine that Geco would not have been pleased with the new Roth box style and objected so the Roth response was to retain the box style and change the color so that it was different from both the RWS and Geco boxes.

Images of other Roth 6.35mm and 7.65mm boxes may provide some insight. I inky have one which is 7.65mmB and Probably earlier. I will post it later It has the R logos on the sides like your green boxes.

Cheers,
Lew

I personally think that there must have been more to the similarity of the Geco and G. Roth boxes than simply a rip-off of design by G. Roth Co. I don’t have a good company history for Roth, unfortunately, so can’t document any reason for the box label myself. Just a hunch that the box label wasn’t just an unauthorized copy of Geco’s and, of course, I readily admit that a hunch is often worth about as much as a fired W-W 9 mm Luger case.

I don’t know when Roth started with the auto pistol cartridges. The only Roth catalog I have showing them (a reprint by Journal-Verlag Schwend GmbH, of Schwäbisch-Hall, Germany) is from 1927, and shows the 6.35 mm, 7.65 mm Browning, 7.65 mm Roth-Frommer, 7.63 Mannlicher, 7.63 mm Mauser, 8.2 mm Roth-Steyr and the 9 mm Steyr cartridges. They must have made them over some time, as I have five different G. Roth headstamps in 6.35 mm, plus the unheadstamped version from the green Geco-style box. In passing, I will mention that all six rounds have CNCS bullets.

The important thing, in this case, is that the front cover of the 1927 Preisliste für Jagd- und Sport-Munition shows the same style GR trademark as do the green boxes. That would square with the box being similar in design to Geco/RWS boxes of the late 1920s. (The trade mark is much easier to discern the GR than it is on the cartridge boxes, by the way, although it is the same).

Regarding the theory that the Roth box was a rip-off of the Geco label design, rather than the result of some more affable arrangement, I don’t think if it had been unauthorized, that changing the color from Blue to Green would have assuaged any resentment from Geco. Just my opinion.

John M.

Here is a not-so-common 10 Round 7.65 mm Browning box from G. Roth Company. Doesn’t relate too much to the questions at hand, but thought it was interesting enough to show here. The top label wraps around the ends onto the back for a short distance on each end. The “GR” intertwined-letter monograms are printed on each end of the overlaps.

I have not idea what the headstamp is. The box is full, fragile, and attempts to open it to look at the headstamp would likely do damage I don’t wish to do. I don’t care about it being full - nothing to be learned there - but I don’t want to hurt the box and label itself.

John Moss

John,
I have the same box but mine is open. It is full and the hst is GR / * / * / * / (3 stars 4 /).

Lew

Sorry Dan, there is only a single round in the box!

Lew

Lew, Lucky b@$$t…fisherman! Thanks Lew.
Glad to know about it!
Stay well!
Dan

Here is another Roth 7.65mmB box. It is pretty basic and clearly not designed by a marketing department!
Roth-bx-1
Roth-bx-1s Roth-bx-1b
The Roth logo is on both sides of the box. There is a stamp on the back but I have no idea what it means.

The headstamp is GR / * / * / * / (3 stars 4 /).

I think that this box is earlier than the blue Roth box. My pure guess would be from the 1920s.

John, your theory of some kind of a relationship between Geco and Roth and that is why I initiated this topic, but so far nobody has come froward with any information to support that, though it may still be true. Given the lack of support I proposed another based on the two green Roth boxes.

Cdheers,
Lew

Lew - good to know what the headstamp is. I have it already in my collection, I am sure.

Regarding Roth 6.35 mm, here are the headstamps I have:

  • / GR / * / 757 /
    • / GR / • / • /
  • / GR / * / (Trinomial headstamp)
  • GR * *
    GR 6.35
    No Headstamp (verified by box samples)

I think the one with the GR case number is fairly rare. It is not well headstamped, but well enough to know what it is. I frankly have never been super impressed with the overall quality of the GR auto pistols rounds.

Regarding my thoughts on a relationship between Roth and GECO, I honestly would not even call it a theory - just a gut feeling. I could be totally wrong. It just doesn’t seem to me that a company like G. Roth would basically steal a book label design. Just can’t help feeling there is more to it that that. Wish someone with a really good knowledge of the G. Roth concern would chime in on this.

John

John, does the “/ GR / * / 757 /” have 5-point or 6-point stars ?

The stars are very badly formed on this rather crude headstamp - no question of its legitimacy, by the way - but it appears they are meant to be six-points.

I am editing this to bring up a point that was made to me in a private email, concerning the Roth 6.35 mm round with the Roth Case Number 757 on it. This is a poorly stamped round, not necessarily unusual for the Roth company. The bunter was made to large for the head, hence the bottoms of the numbers 757 and the top of the Roth Monogram go off of the head. I was question as to whether this headstamp wasn’t actually “JR” intertwined, rather than the German-language version of “GR.” It is simply not possible for me to give a positive answer to that question, due to the poor quality of the headstamping. It could well be JR. If anyone knows for sure (documented, please), please let us know.

John Moss

John Moss

So this was produced by the G.Roth Pressburg factory which eventually became “BRATISLAVSKA J.ROTH AS” and the hs changed to “JR” with 6-pt stars.

From looking at GR (monogram) rifle cases with case numbers, it appears that there are more hs with the six point stars rather than the Austrian produced 5-pt stars. Maybe the AP & Rev cases are the same ?