Bulgaria bought its first Lugers in 1903; 1000 Old Model guns in 7.65mm. It bought another 1300 New Model Lugers in 1908 (again in 7.65mm), but both of these orders were intended for private purchase by officers. It wasn’t until 1911 that Bulgaria formally adopted the Luger as an army sidearm, and placed an order for 10,000 gun in 9mm to be issued at large. The guns were delivered in 1912, and have a couple unique features:
- The toggle has a Bulgarian crest and the chamber a script DWM logo (the reverse of normal placement).
- A large square lanyard loop on the back of the grip.
- Cyrillic safety and extractor markings.
- A Bulgarian lion acceptance mark in lieu of standard German proof marks.
- Serial numbers from 1 – 5000 and 1C – 5000C
This comprised the largest single batch of Bulgarian Lugers, although they would receiver 5,600 German P08 models in 1943 as military aid. In addition, many of the 1903 and 1908 purchased guns were converted to 9mm to standardize them during World War Two.
Sold for $4,888 at the December 2019 RIA Premier auction.