(JTA) — Adolf Hitler’s personal telephone engraved with his name sold at auction in Maryland for $243,000.
The phone, identified by auction house Alexander Historical Auctions as “Hitler’s mobile device of destruction,” was sold on Sunday afternoon to an unidentified person who bid by phone. Bidding started at $100,000.
The Siemens phone, which was originally black, was professionally painted a deep red and had on its back beneath the handset cradle an engraved Nazi Party eagle and swastika above the name “ADOLF HITLER,” according to the auction catalogue. The phone was given to the German chancellor by the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.
In describing the lot, the catalogue said: “It would be impossible to find a more impactful relic than the primary tool used by the most evil man in history to annihilate countless innocents, lay waste to hundreds of thousands of square miles of land, and in the end, destroy his own country and people … with effects that still menacingly reverberate today.”
It added the phone “was Hitler’s mobile device of destruction, used in vehicles, trains, his field headquarters, at the Wolf’s Lair … and in the last desperate days deep beneath Berlin.”
Russian troops discovered the phone in Hitler’s Berlin bunker in 1945 and gave it to a British soldier, Ralph Rayner, during a tour of the bunker shortly after Germany’s surrender. Rayner’s son, who inherited the phone, put it up for sale.
The auction house sold more than 1,000 items over the weekend from World War I and World War II, including a porcelain sculpture of an Alsatian dog that had been gifted to Hitler for $24,300.
In March, Hitler’s personal copy of his autobiography “Mein Kampf” sold at auction at Alexander for more than $20,000.