MI9 WWII gadget catalogue brings 556% increase to Bonhams



2015-06-26 13:09:10

MI9 WWII gadget catalogue brings 556% increase to Bonhams

The MI9 WWII gadget catalogue is entitled Per Ardua Libertas - Freedom through Hard Work

A WWII gadget catalogue from Britain's secretive MI9 has sold as part of Bonhams' Gentleman's Library auction, which took place on January 30 in London.

Per Ardua Libertas Steve McQueen could certainly have put a few of these to use in The Great Escape

The remarkable 76 page book details a range of inventions that would have made James Bond jealous.They were intended for use by would-be escapees from prisoner of war camps.

Enticed by the clandestine nature of the department, one collector paid 5,250 ($8,305) to reveal the book's secrets, resulting in a 556.2% increase on its 800 high estimate. Included within its pages were plans for flying boots, compasses concealed within gold teeth and cameras in the form of cigarette lighters.

Bonhams specialist Lionel Wills commented: "Very few of these catalogues are known to have survived and the remaining copies form rare pieces of secret service history. They give a fascinating insight into the ingenuity employed to assist the war effort."

The book is entitled Per Ardua Libertas, which is Latin for Freedom through Hard Work. It was given to American intelligence officers in 1942, after a visit to Britain to study MI9's working methods.

MI9, or the British Directorate of Military Intelligence Section 9, was established in 1939 and ceased operations in 1945. It was tasked with aiding prisoners of war and resistance fighters in enemy occupied territory.

More second world war-related items were seen at auction on January 20 in New York, when a collection of posters confiscated by the Nazis sold with outstanding results.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic selection of second world war memorabilia for sale, including a signed proclamation from President Truman, which is inscribed to his cousin and was issued the day after the German surrender.

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