This incredibly low serial numbered Mauser Standard Modell has all the hallmarks of being one of the commercial bannered Mauser rifles known to have been sent to Spain in the late 1930’s as part of Hitler’s clandestine support of Franco’s Nationalist forces circumventing the arms embargo in place.
Nazi Germany’s support of Nationalist forces was to attain influence in Spanish affairs & with Franco in particular. This was partly to influence him into siding with the Axis but just as much to counter the influence of Stalinist Russia who were supporting the Republicans, plus there was the obvious factor of Spain’s gold reserve. It is known also that both before & after the Spanish coup of July 1936, Spain bought Standardmodell rifles & carbines direct from Mauser plus the German ‘Condor Legion‘ fighting for Franco’s Fascist Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War (SCW) also used this rifle.
The Nationalists are known to have received at least 155,110 Mauser 98 rifles through ‘HISMA’, the semi-official German-Spanish export company plus there is an unknown number of Mausers brought to Spain by the Condor Legion.
This rifle is an enigma. We know that it started life as a commercial bannered Mauser Standard Modell in 7.92mm manufactured by Mauser Oberndorf before 1935, as it bears the Mauser Banner on the receiver & Standard Modell on the receiver. Standard Modell 98’s started with the straight bolt handle which changed to bent in 1935. The rear sight has been stamped sS, indicating it is proofed for the heavier 7.92 sS Patrone cartridge.
Further supporting the belief of being a sneak, the original Mauser banner & the label Standardmodell have been ‘scrubbed’ from the receiver as ‘sneaks’ were known to have been, further indicating it was not one purchased legitimately due to the Arms Embargo which Germany signed but then basically ignored.
This is in line with our information from knowledgeable sources which believe it was a very early Standard Model. Some have questioned the low S/N, suggesting it may even be a pre-production prototype of some sort. This is not a Spanish applied S/N. The Mauser rifles supplied to Franco by Germany were incredibly varied & usually those not intended for military service in the rapidly expanding German armed forces (which already had an official supply chain for the new Kar98k from several factories) & a very early Commercial rifle would fit this bill.
Post SCW, the Franco government made a real effort to standardise rifles / carbines in the country, as there were known to have been hundreds of thousands of various types & calibres from countries around the world which found their way to Spain in the late 1930’s. As part of this program, those deemed worth keeping were refurbished & this is when the stock was probably replaced with the current Spanish stock & it is likely that it also had the Spanish proof marks of the P & R in squares along side the Cal 7.92 applied on the receiver, as many of the Mauser 98’s sent to Spain were in 7mm. It appears to not have the usual proof marks of a Standard Modell, further leading us to think this is a highly unusual rifle & possibly, as mentioned, an early prototype of some sort.
The sling appears period correct & it comes with the cleaning rod & muzzle cap which is unusual to find still with the rifle.
Regarding provenance, this rifle was acquired from the personal collection of Dr. Hector J. Meruelo in Miami, Florida who is a recognised expert on this subject as a collector specialising in SCW Mausers & published author on the subject of Mausers in Spain. Hector has no doubts this is a veteran of the Spanish Civil War & had it in his collection since the the late 1950’s as such.
As collectors, we are told to buy the gun & not the story, but this rifle has a story & we just wish we knew what it is! This could be an extremely rare & collectable rifle.
This is certainly a one off, (at least here in Australia) & would make an outstanding acquisition to any Mauser collection so if you are a serious collector, this could be the one chance to obtain a genuine sneak Mauser which is a veteran of the Spanish Civil War for your collection or even an early prototype of the Standard Modell?
Make your decision based on what you see, so please do your own research & view the photos carefully as they form the main description & override all written information so ask for more if desired.
Whilst we check these out for serviceability, the warranty has expired & these are sold on an as is basis.
As with all used guns, we recommend you have this checked by a suitably qualified person prior to shooting.
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