Mannlicher M1900 Pistol: Extra-Fancy

The M1900 is a pretty rare variant of one of Mannicher’s automatic pistols – the 1905 version was sold in relatively large numbers to the Argentine government, and those guns are far more common today than the versions that led up to the it. One of those rare earlier variants is the 1900, featuring a relatively modern thumb safety on the left side of the frame.

What is even more rare than just an example of the M1900 Mannlicher is a fully engraved example of the M1900 Mannlicher.

M1900 Mannlicher pistol for the Sultan of Turkey

This pistol was made in Sommerda (Steyr got the contract to make the 1905 pistols for Argentina, but not the M1900s) and was presented to the Sultan of Turkey, probably in 1903 or 1904. I don’t know for sure, but suspect it was part of a negotiation for a large arms order, as Turkey and Germany were on quite good terms at the time.


I’m normally not a huge fan of engraved firearms, but this one is pretty darn impressive. Here’s a closeup of the ivory-inlaid grips:

M1900 Mannlicher pistol for the Sultan of TurkeyYowza!

For the record, it sold at Rock Island for $46,000 two years ago.


  1. I also am not a fan of engraved sissified firearms but must also confess that that pistol sure is attractive!
    You are correct that the gun was intended for one of the Turkey’s (Ottoman Empire) VIP potentates as the grip features that nation’s flag and Arabic script.

    • To elaborate a bit, I have it with engraved guns like I do German cuckoo clocks. I can appreciate that it takes great skill and discipline to make it, but I think it’s hideous to look at and I’d never want to own it. I’m too much of a minimalist I suppose. I like clean lines and smooth surfaces.

  2. OK, but what would GERMAN-Turkish relations have in common with the AUSTRIAN pistol? Austria and Germany and Turkey (and Bulgaria for that matter, and Italy, until they defected to the other side in 1915) were members of the military pact called the Central Powers, opposing the Entente of Great Britain and France. Austria wanted to put her foot into Turkish door and break the German (Mauser, to be precise) near-monopoly on arming Turkey, hence the gifts etc., but Turks preferred German rifles (Tufek 87 – being a Mauser 71/84 in 11x60R, Tufek 91 – being a Belgian M89 Mauser sans barrel shroud in 7.65×53, Tufek 03 being Mauser 98 in 7.9×57)and opted not to change horses midstream.

    • Mannlicher himself was Austrian, but this particular pistol was made in Germany. The plan to get a big contract from Turkey didn’t work (assuming that was the plan), and manufacture of the pistols went to Steyr in Austria.

  3. While I certainly appreciate art (be it music, paintings or metal-carving for that matter) I do not have fancy for ‘ornate’ guns. I think it is wrong place to apply art. Guns are purely technical items and should stay that way; there is enough beauty in well applied technology as such. It may sound as a philosophical point, but I believe the gun is actually counterpoint of art. There is a Latin proverb (do not recall at the moment saying “muses(art) are num in midst of arms”). Anyway, enjoy the pictures.

    • Denny, I understand your point. This pistol is a decorative presentation piece but it might be fully functional as I see tools required for stripping the gun. Let us not imagine what would happen if some schlemiel loaded a clip of live ammo and played Russian Roulette, thinking that this Mannlicher was deactivated or built without a working action, as I doubt that the firing pin or main spring has been removed from this gun.

  4. A few years ago I was tutoring a friend’s bright-but-bored gun-nut 13 year old, which is to say that he was reading several levels about grade and was bored into outright rebellion by “The Chocolate War.” I loaned him Hunter’s “The Day Before Midnight” and he thought that was much more like it. Anyway, this kid’s idea of fashion was jeans and tees and he had utter contempt for expensive brand names. So it totally blew his mind when I told him that hands down the best gun store I had ever been to was the old Abercrombie and Fitch in New York, shortly before the old safari outfitter went bankrupt and was reborn as a trendy fashion brand. I was in submarine school in Connecticut when I made my first forays to New York, so this would have been summer of 77. I had read about A&F in accounts of legendary African safaris and expeditions so it was on my must-see list and of course I wound up in the gun shop, which I think was the fifth floor. This Mannlicher looks like something they would have had in stock… just hundreds of gorgeous English and European double rifles and shotguns (cased, with extra sets of barrels, of course,) Rigby Mausers, cased dueling pistols, factory custom Lugers… Really more of an art gallery than a gun shop but I spent several wonderful hours there browsing. There was absolutely nothing in the room that was affordable on E3 pay (I remember fantasizing over getting a bank loan to buy a very plain, well-used Holland and Holland .303 double which was “only” the same price as a new Kawasaki 1000) but the staff was very polite and courteous showing me incredible engraved and inlaid examples of the custom gunmaker’s art.

  5. I have been to numerious high end gun companies and stores and while I can not afford there weapons I still enjoy the experience. I happen to think off all weapons as works of art, some are fine works and others are kindergarden finger paintings.

  6. I’ve always had a soft spot for “best” guns. I’ll never be able to afford one, but there is something incredible about the ability to make a gun which looks like it was divinely created, rather than cut and scraped from pieces of wood and metal by mortals.

    All the more so when the perfect fit and finish are achieved with the most ridiculously awkwardly grained pieces of wood.

    In a ridiculous way, “best” guns (shotguns anyway) are actually made to work well, with mirror finished innards (eliminating stress raising machine and file marks – in the same way that they are eliminated in high performance engines), gold plated for protection from corrosion (gold gives a more impermeable seal than chrome, and doesn’t abrade other parts like chrome and nickel do).

    I’ve also got to confess that I prefer the work of Italian engravers to British ones (I’m not a fan of the deep cut Germanic leaf themes). For an example, look at the surreal girl’s face in the sky in the engraving on the cover of Nobili’s book (and ignoring the bazookas on the ground)

  7. I agree, with most of you, this is not a gun, it is a display peace.
    I wonder why the lid says model 1903, but you call it model 1900.
    Ehrhardt brought the factory in Sömmerda in 1894, when Frans von Dreyse died in 1894.
    The factory, is now called Reinmetall.He subcontrakteanlicher pistols for Steyr, that were bussy making rifles. I beliwe, that the argentine model, was made made there too.

    This petikluar pistol,was sold in an US Auktion in 2011 for $ 40.000.two more pistols looking likethis, are reported in exitstens

  8. Hey fellows,…. at once it looked great then at second glance it looked more oriental and recalled some old Montenegro revolvers, then I looked closer and when I saw the arabic scripts, it looked repellant, hi ! Unless $40 grands is my MONTHLY salary and they show me a certificate that the pistol belogned to a Royal Saudi family member, I would never pay so much for such pistol; personally I would be better off paying $4000 for a normal model in best conditions. It is a great pistol anyway.

  9. Just curious and you can tell me to mind my own business and I will not be offended, but did you buy it, or just post the pictures? If you bought it, how much did you give fore it? Again, please do not be offended, I am just curios, that is all!

  10. OK, this really shows the mind-blowing engraving skills put in use at this particular firearm. While |I am not a fan of such heavily engraved firearms, I can’t possibly overlook how difficult it would be to inlay something with ivory. I mean, how did they pulled that off?

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