June 07, 2012
By S.P. Fjestad
While this esoteric belt buckle technically qualifies as a firearm, most collectors would view it as more of a novelty item than anything else. It continues to prove that almost all original and bona fide items from the Nazi era remain very collectible, and not just to gun collectors.
The recorded history of these unique WWII Nazi SS marked belt buckle .22 LR pistols is that they were invented and designed by Louis Marquis, who originally came up with this concept while interned in a WWI POW camp. As both an engineer and an inventor, Marquis refined his original design, and in 1943, reportedly received an order to make several examples for Heinrich Himmler to be used by high ranking SS officers in case they were captured.
The ingenious operating mechanism used a spring loaded and hinged belt buckle that flipped up when ready for use. This exposed the four 1¾-inch barrels, and when the two levers on the bottom were depressed, the entire barrel block swung out. The four "triggers" are located on the right side, allowing the user to fire each barrel separately. Note the top barrel in the image with the buckle is not cocked, as evident by the exposed spring and the cocking rod not visible on the top right hand side. This particular example was manufactured by an unknown maker and is marked "BLN" and "BLN.-44-SS". The various parts and components have also been marked with serial number 2, and all of them are matching. Also, several of the smaller parts have a small Waffenamt "eagle" over the proof WaA865.
While very unique and collectible, most existing samples were not officially sanctioned, and were made on a custom order basis by unknown parties/manufacturers. Eye appeal and rarity are certainly the two primary components in this gun's overall desirability factor. The full coverage Germanic oak leaf and acorn engraving pattern with the Nazi Army eagle affixed on top is a huge plus for any Nazi era collector.
So what's this belt buckle gun worth? A lot more than you might originally think, especially when its rarity factor is taken into consideration. Less than 10 have been documented, and they are too complicated and expensive to fake. At the recent April 20-22 RIA auction, this unique item gaveled for $20,700, including the 17.5-percent auction premium. It's worth noting that a person who might have interest in such a unique novelty item may not care about firearms, and are only focused in bona fide artifacts from the Nazi era.
Images and information courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company. For more from S.P. Fjestad, check out his blog at BlueBookOfGunValues.com.
Enjoy articles like this?
Subscribe to the magazine.
Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine