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Enigma encryption machine sells for £85,000 at auction

15 Nov 2012
German enigma machine that sold for 85250 pounds at auction

A World War Two German Enigma encryption machine has sold for £85,250 at auction in London.

The price for the machine, which was under the hammer in Knightsbridge at Bonhams, soared past its initial pre-sale estimate of £40,000-£60,000.

The machine dates back to 1941 and was used by the Germans to encrypt traffic sent between its armed forces during the war.

However, those messages were deciphered by those at Bletchley Park led by Alan Turing and Dilly Knox, to help turn the tide of the war in the Allies' favour, a vital piece of the UK's history that is now being more fully recognised and revered.

Commenting on the auction of the enigma machine, Laurence Fisher, specialist head of mechanical music, technical apparatus and scientific instruments said the pristine nature of the lot helped boost its price.

"Enigma machines come up very rarely at auction. This particular example is in working order, completely untouched and un-restored," he said.

"Many machines were picked up by the Allies as souvenirs during the final stages of the Second World War and as such, in later years, tended to be 'mixed and matched', where rotors, outer cases and head blocks were replaced with another machines' parts.

"This one has all elements bearing the same serial number, making this totally complete and original throughout."

The sale of the device comes in the centenary of Alan Turing's birth, as the celebrated code-breaker continues to achieve the wider recognition has vital contribution to the war effort merits.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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