A rarely encountered belt buckle pistol has surfaced and is featured at Rock Island’s June Regional Auction this month.
Going to the gavel on June 23 is a Louis Marquis-pattern Nazi belt gun which, under its tilting front plate adorned with the traditional Reichsadler (eagle atop swastika) holds four rotating 22LR barrels attached to four triggers. Rock Island’s description doesn’t contain much background information other than the piece in working condition, has about two-thirds of its finish, and is marked with “RVA (eagle) 44H3” on the underside.
The curio is estimated to bring $3,000-$6000, which may be conservative.
The history of these “Koppelschloßpistole” (belt buckle pistols), as noted by gun value guru S.P. Fjestad (the “Blue Book” guy) can be traced back to the aforementioned Louis Marquis, who came up with the idea while in a World War I prisoner of war camp. He patented the design in 1934 and offered it for sale commercially.
Apparently, Marquis picked up an order in 1943, during WWII, from SS boss Heinrich Himmler to make a few buckles for upper-level Nazi officers to be used as a last-ditch tool in case they were captured.
The guns, of which Fjestad said as few as 10 were ever made by Marquis himself, have been extremely popular with collectors, are on the Curio and Relic List (“German, (Nazi) Belt Buckle Gun”) and have seen a good deal of post-war imitation.
They are typically encountered in museums.
A very well-documented .32 ACP version complete with Marquis packaging is at the National Firearms Museum in Virginia. One is in the Berman Museum in Anniston, Alabama — a state once helmed by Gov. Gordon Persons who had his three Marquis buckles on display at the Governor’s Mansion back in the 1950s, while RIA sold a very ornate example in 2012 for $13,800 and a more plain version in 2014 for $16,100.
With that being said, it will be interesting to see what this latest offering brings.