Enigma machine rotor soars to $1,945 at PFC Auctions
PFC Auctions' May 24 sale saw a rare rotor from a WWII Enigma machine make $1,945
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Friday 25 May 2012
A rare rotor from an Enigma machine provided one of many highlights in PFC Auctions sale, which closed on May 24.
Enigma machines were encryption machines used by the German military during the second world war. The machines used a series of revolving wheels or rotors to turn messages into incomprehensible cipher text.
Thanks to the Polish Cipher Bureau's newly developed techniques, British codebreakers were able to decrypt messages which had been enciphered using the Enigma. This intelligence, codenamed Ultra, is often cited as one of the major factors which contributed to the Allies' victory.
In fact, the developments were so important to the Allied war effort that Winston Churchill famously told King George VI: "It was thanks to Ultra that we won the war."
The rotor in the auction originated from the collection of Ronald J Renton, a member of the Royal Corp of Signals during the second world war. He later went on to work for the Ministry of Supply in a role which involved codebreaking work. The rotor sold for £1,242 in the online sale.
The importance of the machine's role in the second world war is widely recognised by collectors. A world record price was set for an Enigma in September 2011, when Christie's sold a 1939 three-rotor machine in its original box for £133,250 ($208,137).
Paul Fraser Collectibles has this fascinating autographed letter from Winston Churchill. The letter was written by Churchill in his position as secretary of state for war, in defence of the troop that served during the first world war.
See our full collection of militaria items, including many from the first and second world wars, here.
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Images: PFC Auctions