Pre-1906 A.H. Funke Gun Catalogue catalog
Very little is known about the firm of A. H. FUNKE, except that it was an old time firearm exporter in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. They were agents for Mannlicher and also Scott Shotguns. They also imported Luger Pistols. The firms’ involvement or association with the Luger has been made clearer with the recent discovery and acquisition of an A.H. Funke Gun Catalogue, 325 Broadway, New York. The cover and first page are ink stamped with the address “83 Chambers Street," which suggests that there had been a recent change of address from 325 Broadway to 83 Chambers Street. Perhaps the added ink stamps were a reminder to their customers.
The catalog is pre World War 1, printed in the “Letter Press" process, and is probably pre 1910, as it features 1900 production old model Lugers and the Ideal stock rig. Judging by the prices and other items in the catalog, it appears contemporaneous to the Hans Tauscher general catalogs.
The A.H. Funke firm’s association with the Luger is even earlier than 1910, as a recently publicized A.H. Funke Luger packaging box label1 shows. Take note of an engraving of the Luger, which is a pre production 1899 Borchardt-Luger with bordered grips and prototype thin trigger.
There is an interesting connection between the U.S. Army, Hans Tauscher and A.H. Funke. At the time of the Hans Tauscher request, he was the sole representative and sales representative assigned by DWM for the United States, Mexico and Canada; in other words he marketed and sold Lugers for profit. Tauscher was based in New York City. A.H. Funke was also a gun retailer located in New York City. Why did Tauscher instruct the U.S. Army to send fifty Lugers to the firm of A.H. Funke, a competitor? Why did not Tauscher tell the army to send the guns to his address so he could sell them? That, in essence, is the burning question. Could there have been an issue of impropriety with Tauscher, who was dealing contractually with the Army as a representative of DWM, selling DWM guns himself through his outlet/storefront?
It seems that the exchange of 50 1900 U.S. Test Eagle Lugers with DWM for 50 1902 9mm Cartridge Counter Lugers was directed by Hans Tauscher in a letter dated 1904 to the United States Army Commanding Officer of Springfield Armory. The letter asks the Commanding Officer to ship 50 of the best condition 1900 U.S. Test Eagle Lugers to Mr. A.H. Funke of 83 Chambers Street, New York.2 This arrangement with A.H. Funke seems odd if we are to assume that Hans Tauscher was the “sole (sales) agent" for DWM. Despite this information, the firm of A. H. Funke could have been the first retailer to sell off 50 of the 1000 1900 Test Eagle Lugers, preceeding the firm of Francis Bannerman, which in approximately1910, purchased 780 1900 U.S. Test Eagle Lugers and holsters from the United States Army at public auction.
1 Rock Island Auction Catalog, April 2004, p.173.