A rare German Enigma enciphering machine is going under the hammer today, and is expected to fetch between £40,000 and £60,000 at auction.
The machine, which is being sold by Bonhams today in Knightsbridge, was used to pass on coded German messages during the second world war. Built in 1941 by Heimsoeth and Rinke, it is an example of a three rotor enigma, which was used by the military between 1938 and 1944.
Laurence Fisher, Specialist Head of Mechanical Music, Technical Apparatus & Scientific Instruments 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.”
Other items available at the auction include enigma rotas, which are expected to sell for up to £8,000, and a fine veri-gold split seed-pearl, diamond and ruby embellished bird box which is expected to sell for up to £80,000.