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LOT 439
Extremely Rare Prototype, Earliest Known, Serial Number 10 Belgian Military Trials Fabrique Nationale “Grand Rendement”/
High-Power Semi-Automatic Pistol with Early Oval Ejection
Port - Serial no. 10, 9 mm para cal., 4 3/4 inch round bbl., blue finish, walnut grips. The evolution of the Browning High-Power pistol truly began in 1921, with a request from the French government for a pistol
to replace their plethora of World War I pistols and revolvers. By 1923 John
Browning had filed a patent for a high capacity pistol chambered in 9mm, which at the time was being
referred to as the “Grand Rendement” or “High Efficiency”. Results were promising through the French trials even with the weight restriction being constantly lowered. By 1929 the pistol almost completely
resembled the High-Power we all know and in 1933 an order was placed by the Belgian military for 1,000 pistols, this example being one of them. These early “High-Efficiency/Power” pistols still
display the iconic oval ejection port that was a carry-over from the development of the Grand Rendement. During the Belgian military trials, some users noted
that they would prefer a different trajectory for the ejected casings, a change that could be made by changing the shape of the ejection port.
Thus, the ejection port was changed to a more squared shape shortly after standard production began. This pistol has the standard two-line
Fabrique Nationale address and Browning’s patent mark on the left
of the slide. The left of the frame and slide are marked with standard Belgian proofs as well as circled “H” military parts acceptance proofs and a “crown/PH” within an oval military acceptance proof on the frame just above the trigger. A Similar set of proofs are faintly visible on the barrel. It is fitted with a blade front sight, tangent rear sight graduated to 500 meters, serrated ring hammer, serrated slide stop and thumb safety, and a pair of checkered walnut grips. As documented in a
recent Browning publication, serial number 10, is the earliest known example of these first Belgian contract High-Power pistols!
Serial Number 10
CONDITION: Exceptionally fine, retains 80% plus of the original blue finish with the balance having thinned to mostly a smooth grey patina, most noticeably on edges and the front strap, as well as a few scattered patches of extremely light pinprick type surface pitting. The grips are fine, the edges showing some slight smoothing of old dings, a few scattered light handling marks, and mostly crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. Quite possibly the only opportunity to own what may be the earliest known example of a Belgian military Fabrique Nationale High-Power pistol!
Provenance: The Bill Drollinger Collection; Property of a Gentleman.
Estimate: 14,000 - 22,500

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