A rare German World War II Enigma encryption machine has been sold at Sotheby’s for a total amount of £149,000 (ca. $232,000), doubling the estimated price of £50,000 – £70,000. The auctioned Enigma was produced by Heimsoeth & Rinke in 1943 bearing serial number A16422.
Its the second Enigma sold this year as in April another Enigma machine, manufactured in 1944, was sold in New York fetching a total of £182,000 (ca. $285,000).
This Enigma complete with three rotors plus Bakelike thumbwheels and matching serial numbers (numbers I, II, and III), standard QWERTZ keyboard with maker’s plate (A 16422/jla/43), plug board (Steckerbrett) with ten cables including two spares stored in the lid, spare bulb rack with bulbs, in an oak carrying case with hinged lid, latched fall-front to expose plug board, and leather strap, the case 15 x 28 x 33 cm when closed thought lacking one lamp (for letter K) and one reflector slightly rusted.
The Enigma Machine was patented in 1919 and adopted by the German military services from the mid-20s onwards and used in the Second World War II to send coded messages. It was vital for the German war effort whilst Allied naval forces risked their lives capturing Enigma machines and code books. It proved to be a challenge thought Genius Alan Turing and other mathematicians, Tommy Flowers and Polish cryptographers, managed to crack the code. Their work saved countless lives and had an enormous impact on the submarine war in the Atlantic, the North African campaign, and the Normandy invasion; the work of Bletchley Park is often said to have shortened the war by two years.
Alan Turing and fellow code-breakers their work done at Bletchley Park, in Oxfordshire, was recently immortalized in the multi-award winning Benedict Cumberbatch film “The Imitation Game”.