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WWII Enigma machine sells for over £85,000

Code breaking, money making auction wonder
Thu Nov 15 2012, 09:38

AN ENCIPHERING Enigma machine used by the German military during World War II sold at auction yesterday for over £85,250.

The Enigma machine beat auction estimates when it sold at Bonhams in Knightsbridge. It was expected to draw somewhere between £40,000-£60,000, meaning that its owner is probably rather happy.

Built by Heimsoeth and Rinke in 1941, the Enigma machine that was sold is a three rotor version, and one of the type that was used by Germany between 1938 and 1944.

"Enigma machines come up very rarely at auction. This particular example is in working order, completely untouched and un-restored," said Laurence Fisher, specialist head of Mechanical Music, Technical Apparatus & Scientific Instruments at Bonhams.

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

The Enigma machine's code was broken by the boffins at Bletchley Park in the UK. There mathematical heavyweights like Alan Turing cracked ciphers, ultimately helping win the war against the Nazi regime. µ


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