Sat Oct 20, 2018 London
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THE WIRE

Science, technology and gadgetsThe essentials of what’s new and what’s worth having

A Bit Of An Enigma

Bonhams to auction two Enigma machines at their science and technology sale for six figure sums

 

Tomorrow in Knightsbridge, Bonhams will auction two Heinsoeth Und Rinke enigma enciphering machines at a sale of instruments of science and technology.

 

A Bit Of An Enigma – Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London to auction two Enigma machines at their science and technology sale for six figure sums. The respective reserves for the machines are £150,000 to £200,000 ($197,000 to $263,000, €169,000 to €225,000 or درهم724,000 to درهم965,000) and £100,000 to £150,000 ($131,000 to $197,000,

 

Produced in Germany in 1941 and 1943, the two devices offered feature QWERTY keyboards and are housed in oak cases. They were patented by Dr Arthur Scherbius in 1918 and utilised interchangeable rotors that scrambled plain-text messages to produce a cipher text message. These were then sent by Morse code to a receiving party with an Engima set up in the same configuration as the sending Enigma.

 

Extremely rare because most were thrown into lakes and rivers as the Germans retreated at the end of the war, around 40 examples exist in museums around the world. The ability of such people as Alan Turing to crack their codes is credited with shortening the conflict by two years.

 

The respective reserves for the machines are £150,000 to £200,000 ($197,000 to $263,000, €169,000 to €225,000 or درهم724,000 to درهم965,000) and £100,000 to £150,000 ($131,000 to $197,000, €112,000 to €169,000 or درهم482,000 to درهم724,000).

 

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Comments

2 comments on “A Bit Of An Enigma”

  1. I agree, I don’t think items of this importance should be in private hands. When you think of the lives that were lost trying to obtain one of these during the war. Also if we hadn’t managed to crack it, we could all be speaking German now.

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