Hitler artefacts: 10 of the most important pieces
We take a look at 10 of the most important Adolf Hitler artefacts ever sold
On April 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler took his own life in a bunker underneath Berlin, as the Red Army closed in around him.
He is reviled as one of history’s greatest monsters, responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people.
His terrible legacy continues to inspire fascination today, resulting in a burgeoning market in Nazi memorabilia.
The question of whether or not this trade should exist is a contentious one. Many countries have banned its sale outright. Some auction houses argue that no historical memorabilia should be off limits.
Whichever side of the fence you come down on; these objects undoubtedly unlock history.
They offer a window into one of humanity’s darkest moments.
**10) Bloodstained fabric **
In February this year a piece of fabric from the sofa that Hitler was sitting on when he shot himself sold for $16,000 at Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland.
The gory lot was collected by a US colonel, who was among the first to arrive in the bunker just days after the suicide.
9) Third Reich autographs - $19,000
The photograph of the founding members of the fledgling NSDAP party was taken in 1926, just as the party began to expand.
It features signatures from Hitler, Goebbels, Goring and Himmler and sold for $19,000 at Alexander Historical Auctions in Connecticut in June 2010.
8) Tea tray - $46,334
Albert Speer, the man tasked with building the new Germany, presented a silver tea set to Hitler on his 50th birthday on April 20, 1939.
This tray is one of the few remaining pieces from the set and came up for auction at Dreweatts and Bloomsbury in 2012 – where it sold for £28,000 ($46,334).
7) Unseen photographs - $50,499
Around 600-800 unseen photographs of Hitler, taken during his rise to power in the 1930s, made £30,000 ($50,499) at JP Humbert Auctioneers in London in 2011.
The images were taken by Heinrich Hoffman, the dictator’s personal photographer, and show him at various political rallies and training camps.
6) The "lost” ring - $55,000
It's not known whether Hitler ever wore the ring - Image: Alexander Historical Auctions
This absurdly flashy piece of jewellery was designed by Karl Berthold, a jeweller and high ranking member of the Nazi party.
It was discovered by a US soldier in the flooded basement of the Fuhrerbau in Munich during the closing days of the war.
It made $55,000 at Alexander Historical Auctions in September 2013, where auctioneer Bill Panagopulos described it as “testament to the excesses of the Third Reich”.
5) Globe - $82,740
The globe was discovered during a US raid of Hitler’s bombed out chalet at Obersalzberg in southern Germany in 1945 – it was apparently the only thing left in the building, which had been recently looted.
A soldier took it as a souvenir, and kept it for many years before he decided to consign it into an auction in 2007.
It sold for $82,740 at Greg Martin Auctions in San Francisco.
4) Personalised rifle - $140,025
Hitler's personalised rifle - Image: Gunbroker.com
US troops seized a Krieghoff Drilling rifle/shotgun engraved with the letters AH from Hitler’s chalet in 1945.
Once again it was kept as a souvenir by a US soldier, who allegedly kept it under his bed for the next 60 years. It was supposedly presented to the dictator by its manufacturer in 1934 in an attempt to curry favour for a military contract.
Despite concerns as to its authenticity, it sold for $140,025 at gunbroker.com in 2006.
3) Collection of paintings - $143,358
Much like Van Gogh, Hitler’s death appears to have given his art career something of a boost. In 2009, 15 of his paintings made £97,672 ($143,358) at Mullock’s in Shropshire, UK.
One work dates to 1910 and is believed to be a self portrait. It shows an indistinct figure sat on a bridge and is painted in an array of unsettling colours.
Hitler was rejected from art school in 1908. He became convinced that a Jewish professor had been behind the decision.
2) The Munich desk - $423,000
The desk was used by Hitler to sign the Munich Pact in 1938 - Image: Alexander Historical Auctions
In 2011, the desk where Hitler signed the 1938 Munich Pact, permitting the annexation of Czechoslovakia, made $423,000 at Alexander Historical Auctions.
It was this treaty that led to Neville Chamberlain’s famously ill-judged “Peace for our time” speech. The appeasement policy collapsed spectacularly less than a year later and Europe went to war.
1) 1935 Mercedes Benz 770K - $8m
Hitler's Mercedes was used in official rallies - Image: Wikimedia Commons
This armoured blue 1935 Mercedes Benz 770 Kompresser Cabriolet is thought to have sold for around $8m as part of a $16m package in 2009.
It was used during official state functions and appears regularly in photographs.
The deal included six other Mercedes Benz 770s used by the Nazis.
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