Washington: Adolf Hitler’s personaltelephone which the Nazi dictator used to give deadly orders during the World War II has been sold for a whopping USD 243,000, more than double the starting price at a US auction.
The identity of the buyer for the Fuehrer’s Siemens rotary telephone, who bid by phone, has not been made public.
The phone, which has the Nazi leader’s name engraved on it and a swastika, was found in his Berlin bunker in 1945.
Soviet soldiers gave it to British officer Sir Ralph Rayner as a souvenir shortly after Germany surrendered.
Rayner recovered the phone from Hitler’s bunker while visiting Berlin on the orders of Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery just a few days after the end of the war, according to Rayner’s personal account and shipping documents from that time period, according to the auction house.
His son Ranulf Rayner, 82, inherited the phone after his father’s death in 1977. “My father didn’t see it as a relic of Hitler’s glory days, more a battered remnant of his defeat, a sort of war trophy,” he told CNN. “He never thought it would become an important artifact.”
“He could still smell burning flesh,” Ranulf Rayner said, recalling his father’s description of the underground shelter where Hitler spent his final days. In his words, it was a “dreadful hellhole.” The phone, originally a black Bakelite phone, later painted crimson, was sold by auction house Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City, Maryland, yesterday.
The auction house had estimated its worth between USD 200,000 and USD 300,000. The bidding started at USD 100,000.
The auction house had described the telephone as “Hitler’s mobile device of destruction” and called it “arguably the most destructive ‘weapon’ of all time, which sent millions to their deaths around the world.” A porcelain figure of an Alsatian dog, also owned by Hitler, fetched USD 24,300. It was bought by a different bidder, the BBC reported. PTI
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