German M4 Enigma machine sets new world record

A German M4 four-rotor Enigma machine has sold for a world record sum of $365,000 at Bonhams New York.

It headlined the Conflicts of the 21st Century auction yesterday.

Enigma machine record
The Enigma machine is one of a handful of working specimens salvaged from a U-boat

The previous auction record for an Enigma machine was $269,000, set at Bonhams last year for a four-rotor specimen used by the Wehrmacht.

The present lot is one of a handful of surviving examples carried on a U-boat. The dangerous nature of submarine warfare meant many were lost.

Others were destroyed to prevent them being captured.

Bonhams explains: "The numbers of surviving M4s, given that at least 70% of commanders should have destroyed their machines before surrendering, can be estimated at 120 examples extant, mostly one suspects, languishing in Government storerooms around the world…

"Analysis of the 24 Museums around the world show a total of circa 50 Enigma machines on display, of which 7 are M4s, taken from captured U-Boats."

An insignia from the first US owned American-flown aircraft of the first world war sold for $43,750.

It displays a hand painted stars and stripes and is housed in a frame, with a plaque reading: "Insignia from A.R.1 / First U.S. Gov't Owned American Flown Airplane, Used in France During World War".

The Dorland AR1, flown by Captain Merwyn F Falk of the 1st Aero Squadron, began to be used on reconnaissance flights in 1918.

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