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Article created: Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Article modified: Thursday, December 16, 2010

1893 C93 Borchardt German Language Manual










Tafel I

Tafel II

Tafel III

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The subject C93 Borchardt German language instruction manual has been part of the Land of Borchardt collection for several years and whose acquisition and long history is discussed in the article below in great detail. Pictures were generously provided to G. Sturgess for inclusion in his book "Pistole Parabellum" by Görtz/Sturgess1, Volume III, page 1119, figure 1013. An English language version of the C93 Borchardt manualis shown in figure 1014. Both manuals are incorrectly attributed to the G. Sturgess collection, as defined by the authors’ statement in the book "A Note on the Illustrations", but are actually part of the Land of Borchardt collection.

There are three known Deutsches Waffen- und Munitions-fabriken (DWM) printed versions of the C93 Borchardt pistol carbine instruction manual being the German, Spanish and English language variations. The French language version is said to exist but as of this writing no example has been published or observed. Featured herein is, more than likely, the rarest of the three known language series C93 Borchardt pistol carbine instruction manuals which is the Deutsches Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) German language version. The subject C93 Borchardt German language instruction manual was printed for the domestic German commercial market only and probably not in great quantities, as most DWM C93 Borchardts were sold abroad.

This manual has been in The Netherlands, practically since first printed in Germany as evidenced by the Amsterdam located GEORGES & DE WATTEVILLE dealers ink stamp on the cover. This identical German language manual is pictured in black and white in a 1992 publication along with the Tafel (Plate) II fold-out drawing.1 This manual, which has impeccable provenance, is formally of the Nico van Gijn Collection who acquired it in about 1991 from the late Dick Deibel, a noted Dutch Luger collector and author. Dick Deibel possibly obtained it from Peter Kersten, one of the last owners of Munts Gun Shop in Amsterdam. Peter Kersten did own or have possession of the manual about 70 plus years ago. Kersten could have gotten it from the Artillerie Inrichtigen or Dutch State Arsenal at Hembrug or from Johan Munts. However, if Kersten got the manual from Munts, there are a few possibilities as to how Johan Munts of the Munts Company originally acquired the manual. The Munts Company was taken over by Peter Kersten in 1909 and Munts was in fact the name of the founder. That Johan Munts was in business in the same period as when Georges & de Watteville was selling guns is significant. Both were located in Amsterdam, so maybe Johan Munts just bought himself a Borchardt or maybe the firm of Georges & de Watteville went out of business and sold all inventory to Johan Munts. This is entirely plausible since Munts was a very old gun dealer which was founded in 1868. The Munts Company went out of business in 2006. One surviving picture shows the Munts store front on Damrak 11 in Amsterdam, circa 1930 and a current photograph of the same location.2 Even though the firm of Georges & de Watteville in Amsterdam is mentioned in the Dutch Luger book as the DWM representative in The Netherlands, as of this writing there is no other information to be had regarding the address or history of this firm, save for the logo on the manual.

Description of manual

The featured manual is complete and intact except for a left side profile picture photograph of the C93 Borchardt pistol, which is missing from the TAFEL I or Plate I of the three fold-out illustrations at the rear of the manual. The picture was cut out many years ago, prior to the ownership of the manual by Nico van Gijn and Dick Deibel. Tafel II and Tafel III are intact. Interestingly, the Plates I and II illustrations of all three language manual variations use a C93 production Loewe Borchardt in photograph format, whereas the Plate III uses "Line Drawing" illustrations of a preproduction short barrel C93 Loewe Borchardt. In fact, the entire Tafel III illustration of the subject manual is identical to the Plate II used in the C93 Loewe Borchardt English language manual. This is another example of the conservative and frugal proclivities of DWM regarding period paperwork.

Also there several punched holes on the binding edge of the subject manual suggesting the manual was in a ring binder at one time. This practice is not uncommon as several rare manuals have been observed with punch holes, most probably being used by gun dealers in their shops as reference manuals. Also not uncommon, in the early days of "letter" offset vs. photo offset printing before copiers and scanners, the "cut and paste" method was the only way to replicate a picture for another publication. At the time, at least in this case, the concern for the historic or collectible value of original documents was not a factor. This would never be done today. The manual is in fair, although frail condition, taking into account its age, history and usage. Dick Deibel published articles on the Dutch Luger in a British publication entitled guns review. He wrote an article that featured the subject manual but the date of publication and title are unknown.

The cover page was marked DWM with a red pencil for unknown reasons, as the title on the manual cover clearly states Deutsches Waffen- und Munitions-fabriken. This, it turns out was done by Peter Kersten and is discussed further in this article. Also on the cover, as stated earlier is a blue ink stamp in the style of an oval cartouche with the text description of GEORGES & DE WATTEVILLE * AMSTERDAM *. This identical blue ink stamp is located on the inside front cover and on the title page. The firm of Georges & de Watteville was an early 1900th century period gun dealer and the DWM representative in The Netherlands of which apparently Georges & de Watteville was also the intermediary between DWM and the Dutch military authorities.

In May 1905, the Dutch Small Arms Arsenal ordered 90 circa 1902 green cover with gold colored text German language Parabellum manuals through the same Amsterdam firm for the 1905 Dutch Luger trials. However, none of these Parabellum manuals have ever been identified with the subject Amsterdam dealers stamp.

Per The Dutch Luger Book, in 1895 the Dutch "military" authorities had bought a C93 Borchardt pistol with detachable stock.3 Perhaps this was the manual that came with the pistol, although since DWM was not formed until November 1896 it is unlikely. If 1895 is the correct year of acquisition, then the C93 Borchardt pistol with detachable stock, purchased by the Dutch would have been manufactured by Ludwig Loewe & Co. and been accompanied by a "German" language Loewe manual, if any manual at all. An alternative scenario would be that the 1895 purchase date as stated by The Dutch Luger book for the C93 Borchardt was too early. Or it may be as simple as the Amsterdam gun dealer also commercially sold C93 DWM Borchardt pistols. It is interesting to note that all three language versions, German, Spanish and English, of the DWM C93 Borchardt pistol manual features a production C93 Loewe Borchardt on the front and rear covers and internal illustrations. Additionally, the identical C93 Loewe Borchardt pistol photograph is used on all manual covers, evidenced by certain matching characteristics found on all C93 Borchardt manual covers. However, the only known published manual for the C93 Loewe Borchardt is the English language variation C93 Loewe Borchardt manual which features a preproduction prototype C93 Loewe Borchardt pistol with a short barrel on the cover. This short barrel version of the C93 Loewe Borchardt was initially thought to exist only on paper, i.e. Borchardt Patent 75837, September 9, 1893 until an actual example was shown in a 2002 publication4. A second extant example surfaced shortly thereafter incredibly with two matching magazines also as is shown in Borchardt Patent DRP 75837.


The subject C93 Borchardt German language instruction manual is now part of the Land of Borchardt Collection as a complete original manual. The original cut-out of the left side profile picture photograph of the C93 Borchardt pistol was recently recovered and restored to the manual. As to how this happened is a very interesting and winding tale of history, circumstance and good fortune and is best told in the words of Nico van Gijn, the previous owner.

I told you about the missing picture in the Borchardt manual. Although I have had that manual for so many years, yesterday evening I started reading it for the first time. I noticed that on the page where the picture is missing a little hand writing was done. I recognized the hand writing as done by Peter Kersten, an early owner of Munts Gun Shop in Amsterdam. He owned Munts until 1948 and then his son Cees took over until Cees died in April 1975. So it seems that this manual was owned by Peter Kersten in Amsterdam before it was owned by Dick Deibel in The Hague. I really did not know that. I only know Peter Kersten’s handwriting as I studied notes on the Dutch Sauer pistols for the book of Jim Cate. Munts was the dealer of Sauer and Peter Kersten was on the trials with Fritz Zehner. Fritz Zehner was the designer of the Sauer pistols. He was in Holland as the Dutch customers wanted trials with the Sauer 30.

Well, Peter Kersten was also author of a book on guns. That book was made for police investigations and not for the public. That book was published about 62 years ago in 1946. So it seems to me that Peter did cut out that picture for his book.

Now the clue: many years ago I visited the granddaughter of Peter Kersten. She lived in a small town named Zandvoort near the coast. Her stepfather was Cees Kersten (son of Peter) and she owned a big case with papers that she thought all belonged once to Cees. She showed me these papers and I told her that all the papers were not the estate of Cees but the estate of his father Peter Kersten. Well, that convinced her give all the papers to me for free. She was not interested in the estate of Peter Kersten as she did not like him at all. That big box is still around in my garden house somewhere. I only looked once in all these papers (research for Sauer notes) and noticed it contained a lot of personal research papers, hand notes and also many original documents that were used for publishing his book. Now if what I think is true that the missing picture of the Borchardt manual must be somewhere in that big box among all these papers. I will start looking for it this evening as soon as I am home from work. If I can find that picture, then I can restore the manual after 60 plus years!!! I’ll let you know this evening what is happening. Really exiting..... Believe me I go speeding home for this!!


I found the missing picture! It was part of the Kersten book printed in 1946. As Kersten was working on the book before the war started in 1940 so the picture must have been cut out from the manual before 1940, almost 70 years ago. The picture is glued on a paper that has the Munts logo and address on the front side. I can take off the C93 picture and restore it to the manual. I can do that very good as I have a lot of experience in repairing. Also on the back is some writing of Peter Kersten, some the writing is in red pencil, the same as is on the manual front cover. There are also some notes in the manual in Kersten’s hand.

All is still very unbelievable, even my wife could not believe the missing picture was so close for so many years without knowing it.

The repair/restoration process

I will repair without using tape of course as I use non UV (ultra violet) detectable and non acid special glue for repairing paper. Now in this case all the paper is complete so it is just a matter of bringing the piece together again. However when I restore any missing paper then I will use only vintage paper. I simply buy vintage books of no value to get original old paper for restoring books with value. The reason is again that original vintage paper is not detectable by using UV light. I want the repairs not to be visible or at least very hard to see. In this case it will hard to do as the cuts are in the middle of the page. So you still will see that it was repaired but it will be much better.

First I used steam to separate the picture from the Munts paper. Next was making it flat again by ironing between clean paper. Then I found out that after so many years of being separated from each other the picture has aged more than the manual. I think long term storage made the color of both different. The picture is darker. It even seems to have shrunk, although very little. I glued the edges and made them one again. A tiny piece was missing; it was lost by the cutting with the scissors 70 years ago. Due to the overall condition of the manual I did not find that little piece. I just left it like it was. The handwritten notes by pencil by the owner of Munts (Peter Kersten) can be removed but I did not as it is part of the history of the manual and part of the fact the manual was beaten up for the purpose of giving the Dutch police an investigation manual. Besides that Kersten can be seen as a very important expert on firearms. These notes, combined with his notes on the Munts paper match and that is funny. The address on the Munts paper is still the pre war (1940) address in Amsterdam. After the war the shop of Munts was on a new address. So even this paper is from the prewar period of Munts.

Click here to see Peter Kersten and see his history written by himself. I was not aware that he was honored in a book as an important director in those days. Nobody knew that in fact. I was looking on the internet and since 2 years that book is complete published on the internet. So Peter explains about what he had done, like writing a manual for the Sauer pistols, his hobby, etc. In the last line his address is shown, which is the same as on the paper with the C93 Borchardt picture.

There are 3 books by Kersten, however they are all about the same subject but with different printing dates of 1946 and 1952 (layout was changed) and one is combined with other info as it was printed by the Amsterdam police force. In all these books Kersten used this picture. I will start repairing this morning about 10 AM as it takes some time and the manual can not be closed for some hours. The original paper of Munts, with the notes by Kersten will be sent to you so you can keep this history all together. I have many pictures of the book and they are all like this on Munts paper.

Pictured is a very old postcard photo from about 1920 of the Dutch State Arsenal at Hembrug and the same main building photographed in 2002. Also a few indoor photo's of the factory as it is today. The buildings are empty now and rumor has it that they want to build a prison on the same spot. Too bad about the history. After the state arsenal was located there with the name Artillerie inrichtingen, (Artillery institution) Hembrug (The Armalite AR10 rifle was designed and processed there also.

In 1957, Fairchild Armalite sold a manufacturing license for the AR-10 to the Dutch State Arsenal Artillerie Inrichtingen (AI).5 Later the government sold all to a firm with the name Eurometaal. This company is closed also. Financial problems.6


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