WWII German Enigma machine sells for $135,000


2015-06-26 13:03:34


WWII German Enigma machine sells for $135,000

A 1941 WWII codemaking German Enigma machine has beaten its estimate by 42% at Bonhams

A WWII-period German Enigma machine has beaten its estimate by 42.1% at a Bonhams auction in London.

Made by Heimsoeth and Rinke in 1941, the three-rotor machine had been expected to achieve up to 60,000 ($95,919) on November 14 but changed hands for 85,250 ($135,099).

Enigma machine auctionAmong the most sought after artefacts from the second world world

While that figure is short of the 133,250 ($208,137) world record price set by a 1939 machine last year, it is evidence of the enduring fascinating with these relics from the conflict, with only the later manufacture date of the present piece counting against it.

Germany employed the machines during the conflict to turn messages into supposedly "uncrackable" code.

Following a breakthrough by the Polish Cipher Bureau, British code experts at Bletchley Park were able to decrypt messages which had been enciphered using the Enigma, unbeknownst to the Germans.

Cracking the Enigma code is said to have shortened the war by up to two years.

Laurence Fisher, a technical apparatus expert at Bonhams, said: "Enigma machines come up very rarely at auction. This particular example is in working order, completely untouched and un-restored.

"Many machines were picked up by the allies as souvenirs during the final stages of the second world war and as such, in later years, tended to be 'mixed and matched', where rotors, outer cases and head blocks were replaced with another machines' parts.

"This one has all elements bearing the same serial number, making this totally complete and original throughout."

View all our militaria for sale here.

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