A piece of bloodstained fabric, taken from the sofa on which Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide, has auctioned in the US.
The 6 x 3.5 inch piece sold for $16,000 on February 19 at Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, surpassing its $15,000 high estimate.
A combination of its grisly nature and strong provenance helped the lot to its excellent showing.
On the afternoon of April 30, 1945, with the Russian army closing in on Berlin, Braun and Hitler retired to his personal study. There they were later found by Hitler's close associates, lying dead on the sofa. Braun had taken a cyanide capsule, Hitler had killed himself with a gunshot to the head.
The fabric was taken by a US army colonel, who entered Hitler's bunker in the days after the Nazi leader's suicide.
As well as a macabre memento from the last moments of the Fuhrer, the sofa also offers the opportunity for DNA testing.
"As no blood relics of Hitler's have ever been offered publicly - a DNA test would conclusively put to rest rumors of body doubles, flight to Argentina, and other theories of an escape from Berlin," says the auction house.
The item has undergone a Kastle-Meyer blood test, which demonstrated the presence of haemoglobin.
The fabric was the star lot of the second day of the sale. The two-day auction also featured a Hitler watercolour, which made $15,000, and an X-ray of his skull, which achieved $1,500.
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