Rare World War II German Enigma machine sold for £85,000

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15 November 2012
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imports_MIL_germanwwienigmamachine_90838.jpg German WWI Enigma machine sold at Bonham's
An extremely rare German Enigma machine, used to send coded German messages in World War II, has sold at auction for £85,250. ...

An extremely rare German Enigma machine, used to send coded German messages in World War II, has sold at auction for £85,250.

This enciphering machine sold yesterday (14 November 2012) at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, above its initial pre-sale estimate of £40,000-£60,000.

Built by Heimsoeth and Rinke in 1941, this is the three rotor version, used by Germany between 1938 and 1944 and was patented by H. A. Koch.

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Whilst this particular device was intended for commercial purposes, by 1939 the majority of enigma machines had been appropriated for German military use.

The secret operations at Bletchley Park helped to decode the information communicated by this machine to gain an eventual winning advantage over the Germans.

Laurence Fisher, Specialist Head of Mechanical Music, Technical Apparatus & Scientific Instruments commented: “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.”