Top 10: World War II memorabilia
Hermann Goering’s personal ring, sold for $11,000 at Rock Island Auction Company in April 2012.
10) Churchill’s snuff box - $22,270
Winston Churchill’s silver snuff box, presented to his house of commons doorkeeper in 1941 after the doorkeeper lost his own snuff box in the blitz. Sold for £14,400 ($22,270) by Sotheby’s in July 2006.
9) Churchill typescript - $31,550
A typescript with handwritten revisions by Churchill, following the invasion of Sicily and three days after the overthrow of Mussolini, sold for £20,400 ($31,550) at Sotheby’s in July 2003.
8) Peter White archive - $59,790
A remarkable and moving insight into the life of a normal soldier during the Second World War, this archive of infantry platoon commander Peter White fetched £30,000 ($59,790) at Christie’s in June 2007. It included his handwritten diary covering 1944-1945, along with over 730 drawings in pen and ink, newspaper clippings, photographs, the typed and handwritten manuscript of his published work With the Jocks, his regimental KOSB Glengarry ,4 medals, a Kodak camera taken from a German prisoner in Holland with photographs developed from the film, and several sketchbooks.
7) Mussolini’s Order of Courage medal - $122,139
An Order of Courage military medal owned by Mussolini, taken from him on the day of his arrest in Rome, sold for €100,000 ($122,139) at La Galerie Numismatique in March 2012. Collectibles relating to the former fascist dictator are quite sought-after. Mussolini’s suitcase, containing his military uniform and a dress belonging to his mistress Claretta Petacci, sold for $6,325 by Heritage Auctions in September 2011.
6) Hitler’s guard night pistol - $160,000
A night pistol of Adolf Hitler’s personal guard, with tracer ammunition and flashlight, sold for $160,000 at Rock Island Auction in April 2012.
5) Anne Frank’s letters - $165,000
A series of letters written by Anne Frank in English to pen pals in Iowa in 1940, the only Anne Frank memorabilia ever to be auctioned, sold for $165,000 at Swann Auction Galleries in October 1988.
4) Enigma cipher machine: $208,137
One of the most fascinating aspects of WWII was the extensive significance of code-breaking, only recently come to light. The German Enigma cipher machine is extremely collectible, being at the time the most complex encoding device ever created – the cracking of it by British mathematicians at Bletchley Park is thought to have knocked years off the end of the war. The highest price ever fetched for an Enigma machine was £133,250 ($208,137) at Christie’s in September 2011, though many have sold for thousands and some for tens of thousands before this.
3) Hitler’s Desk - $423,000
Adolf Hitler’s brass desk, which he used for signing the Munich pact, was sold for $423,000 by Alexander Autographs in December 2011.
2) Victoria Cross medal - $1.1 million
An Australian WWII Victoria Cross, one of only 22 awarded to Australians, sold for $1.1million at Noble Numismatics, July 28th 2011. Victoria Crosses are extremely collectible. The highest price ever paid for a Victoria cross awarded to a Briton was for that of WWII pilot and bombing hero Bill Reid, sold for £335,000 ($518,088) at a Spink and son auction in November 2009.
1) Hitler’s Mercedes-Benz - $8 million
This bullet-proof luxury Mercedes-Benz 770K, produced between 1930 and 1943, was owned by Adolf Hitler. He could not drive himself, so was chauffeured around in the car. It was sold to a Russian Billionaire in November 2009 for around $8 million.
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