Nazi Enigma encoding machine sells in London for over £80k
You could have got a better price there when it was new
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. ®
Let's hope it wasn't bought by someone in Hollywood...
or there will be a film out next starring Justin Beiber about a group of boy scouts who stole it from a German U-Boat.
"The code was unbreakable until code-breakers at Bletchley Park ..... "
Polish cryptographers broke the Enigma, and invented the automatic machinery to do this. This information was passed to the British as Poland fell to the invaders.
Most of the Polish cryptographers were interned, and never let on.
This is well documented in pretty well every serious book about the subject. I understand why the popular press like to publish a patriotic success story even if it is fiction, it is disappointing to see The Register doing the same.
I feel obliged by the great weight of commenting tradition to enquire as to whether it will play Crysis.