January 11, 2022
By Garry James
Question: My wife’s uncle died last week and left us all of his guns. I had inventoried his stash and knew what he had. When we emptied the house, I found what I think is a Nambu Model 14, serial number 46XXX. I think the firearm was made in 1938. The gun appears to be in rough shape, but I think I can clean it up a little. The holster appears to be beyond repair. When I was going through the pockets on the holster I found a letter dated “29 November, 1943.” It lists a captain assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 147th Infantry, as bringing the gun into the country in accordance with “WD Memo No. W570- 3-451”. If you could tell me a little about the gun’s history, and possibly a value, I would greatly appreciate it.
-T.S. via Email
Answer: It is definitely a Type 14 Nambu. The Type 14, so named because it was adopted in 14th year of the reign of the Emperor Taisho (1925), was manufactured at several sites until 1945. It was made in large numbers, and variations abound. Quality on these 8mm pistols declined considerably as World War II neared its end. The “13.4 “indicates the year and month “April 1938,” as per the Showa Emperor’s reign designation of its manufacture. The serial number range at the Nagoya Factory for that time was 46376 to 47938. As you mention, condition could be considerably better. In its current shape, and assuming it works and the bore is at least halfway decent, I’d value it at around $350 to $425, if it cleans up decently. The holster, unfortunately, has little value on its own, but as having originally accompanied the pistol it certainly adds interest to the piece. The bring-back papers also add some collector interest.
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