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Nazi Enigma encoding machine sells in London for over £80k

You could have got a better price there when it was new

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A rare German WWII Enigma cipher machine has beat its auction estimate in London, selling for £85,250.

Bonhams auctioneers had put a £40,000 to £60,000 estimate on the pristine 1941 oak model coding device, used by the Nazis to encrypt and decode messages sent between the military and their commanders.

"Enigma machines come up very rarely at auction. This particular example is in working order, completely untouched and unrestored," Laurence Fisher, specialist head of mechanical music, technical apparatus and scientific instruments, said before the auction.

"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."

The version of the machine sold was a model used between 1938 and 1944, with three-rotors to create 17,576 possible combinations for each letter in a message. The code was unbreakable until code-breakers at Bletchley Park automated the decryption with the Turing Bombe machine. ®

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