Are these German handwritten sevens? (The one looks like a German one, but to me the sevens look like they would be some other nationality.) By the way, writing is 1945.

...... yes I am 100% positive this handwriting intended "177" and the context is electro-penciling of serial number on a manufactured item (a Mauser pistol) by assembly-line personnel. This handwriting does not look German to me and therefore might be that of a displaced worker - out of curiosity I am trying to devine the writer's nationality

enter image description here

Here is an example of two more pistols. The seven of "127" looks normal. The sevens of "177" and "176" appear to have been written, in this different style, by the same person

enter image description here

Thank you all very much for your insightful thought and responses - I have learned quite a lot through your generosity !!!

  • 5
    This looks like Continental European writing of numerals "1" and "7" - without more context, I don't think anyone can be more specific.
    – tofro
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 18:41
  • 2
    Was ist die Bildquelle? Das sind arabische Ziffern, aber Ziffern haben keine Nationalität. Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 20:52
  • Are you sure (e.g. from context) that these signs are sevens at all? The upper part looks strange, it should be much straighter.
    – Matthias
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 20:59
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    @Matthias: Es gibt geschwungene Handschriften, und seit rund 100 Jahren geht der Trend weg vom Ornament und vom Dekorativen. Der Schwung im oberen Strich der Sieben war nicht selten und ist auch noch nicht ausgestorben, siehe hier, Briar-Press: pinterest.de/pin/589549407442281330 . Hier ist es ein extremes Beispiel, aber das sind zweifellos Siebener. Besuche auf alten Friedhöfen könnten hier hilfreich sein. Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 21:52
  • 3
    @Matthias yes, those are numbers, not some mysterious signs. They show the typically variance of handwriting (more or less curved more or less inclined) a writer will develop over time, including a slight sloppiness (see the open '6'). And if you are taught cursive, the matching numbers are often taught with "waves", not just the '7', but also the '2'. They may "flatten" over time in handwriting, but we are looking at labeling - where a writer might choose a more "expressive" style.
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 8:36

3 Answers 3


These numbers - especially the 7 - are handwritten numbers in the

"deutsche Kurrentschrift" or "Kurrent".

As you can see on this website, in this handwriting script the 7 has a curved top and the horizontal line in the mid:

Kurrent 7

According to Wikipedia this font was used up to the mid of the 20th century in the whole german-speaking area. So, this 7 is presumably a "german 7".

  • 2
    This is not necessarily kurrent writing. This writing is still now (in 2017) taught in schools in Austria (for details read my answer) Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 6:52

In a nutshell

There are three versions of the digit 7 that are in use in Germany, Austria and Switzerland since the 1940’s:

enter image description here

  1. The upper line is curved and there is a slash in the middle
    Taught in schools in Austria from the 1940’s (maybe even before) until today. This versions was also taught in DDR (between 1958 and 1968)
  2. The upper line is straight, and there is a slash
    Also taught in Austria from 1995 until now (as an optional alternative to version 1) and in DDR between 1968 and 1989 and in Switzerland since 1947.
  3. No slash in the middle, but the upper line is curved
    Version from Germany that was introduced in 1941.

Sorry, I don't know which versions was in use in Germany (BRD) after World War II, because I didn't find examples of writings from that country that shows the writing of digits.

The British and American seven (upper line is straight, without middle-slash) never was in use in German spoken countries (and still isn't taught in schools here).

In Detail

I was born in 1965 in Austria and entered school in 1971. There I learned »Österreichische Schulschrift 1969« ("Austrian school writing 1969"):

enter image description here

This writing is a minor variation of »Österreichische Schulschrift 1947« (for which I didn't find an example to show here)

As you can see, the digit »7« has exactly the form you showed (well, with a much more intense curving at the upper line, which I interpret at the writers personal style)

Since 1995 there is an additional form in use in Austria.:

enter image description here

Since 1995 teachers can decide if they teach the writing from 1969 of the newer version from 1995. Both versions (but no other version) are still taught in schools in Austria.

When looking at the digit »7«, you will see that in Austria this digit has in both versions a slash in the middle, while in German schools the digit »7« is taught differently:

This writing is from 1941 and since then it was used in Germany:

enter image description here

As you can see, the upper line of the digit »7« is curved, but there is no middle-slash.

Sorry, I didn't find examples showing digits for writings taught in BRD after WW II, but here is a writing form 1958, used in DDR:

enter image description here

The 1958-DDR-seven and the 1969-Austria-seven are identical

But 1968 he writing was reformed in DDR, and the digit 7 was changed:

enter image description here

The next example is from Switzerland, 1947:

enter image description here

As you can see: The upper line of the digit 7 is not curved, but there is a middle slash

  • 4
    You are looking for the "Lateinische Ausgangsschrift", introduced 1953 and still in use today - unless replaced with the "Vereinfachte Ausgangsschrift". The Grundschule my kids attend(ed) still uses it. And yes, that seven has a "wavy" top and a slash through the middle.
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 8:28
  • The "Deutsche Normalschrift" in your example was just an intermezzo.
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 8:30
  • @Stephie: Du you have any example for Lateinische Ausgangsschrift that shows digits? The wikipedia article is not useful if you're looking for the writing of digits. Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 8:45
  • 2
    I agree to @Stephie: that "Lateinische Ausgangsschrift" is closest to what I learned at school. I also write the 7 with a slash. BTW: You could have mentioned that you got those pictures from Wikipedia (citing sources). Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 11:57
  • 1
    Can we please reduce the size of these huge images to the significant line where the numerals are depicted? At present your lengthy answer scrolls over several pages with content more or less irrelevant to the question (how to write the 7). This not only makes it very hard to impossible to read on small screens or mobile devices but also obscures all answers below. Thank you.
    – Takkat
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 7:10

To me it looks like an over-emphasized version of the font I learned at school in 1983, which is the "Lateinische Ausgangsschrift". Unfortunately, Wikipedia only has the alphabet part available as an image, but there's a font for download by Pelikan, a German pen producer, where the numbers are written like this:

Numbers in Lateinische Ausgangsschrift

So, the 7 has a wavy top and a dash in the middle. That's exactly how I would write the numbers if I were told to write like in elementary school.

I'm generally careful when it comes to handwriting versus PC fonts, because not all letter combinations are available as ligatures and therefore PC fonts have technical limitations. This does not apply to numbers, because the digits are always written separately.

  • Hast du tatsächlich auch gelernt, diese seltsamen Schnörkel rechts oben bei 8 und 0 zu machen? Das habe ich noch nie irgendwo gesehen. Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 8:36
  • @HubertSchölnast: doch, tatsächlich habe ich das so gelernt, auch beim Q. Warum ist mir allerdings unklar. Insbesondere wird die Null dadurch noch ähnlicher zum O. Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 8:40
  • @HubertSchölnast: mir wird oft gesagt, dass ich eine schöne Handschrift habe und jetzt wo ich mich wieder ein bisschen damit beschäftige (mein Sohn geht in die erste Klasse), wird mir erst richtig klar, wie unterschiedlich die vereinfachte Ausgangsschrift ist. Die grundlegend gutgemeinte Idee hat handwerkliche Nachteile, nämlich wenn die Kinder nicht wissen, worauf sie achten müssen. Bei nachlässiger Schrift wird die Ausgangsschrift schneller unleserlich als die lateinische Ausgangsschrift. Das liegt eindeutig an den nach hinten hochgezogenen Verbindungselementen. Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 8:48

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