London: A rare German coding machine used by the Nazis to send secret messages during the Second World War is expected to fetch up to 50,000 pounds at an auction here.
The three-rotor German Enigma enciphering machine encased in an oak carrying box and built in 1944 will go under the hammer on October 29 at Bonhams.
Its battery switch, vacant battery box, complete set of bulbs, ebonite plug board, set of three plug board cables, and set of instructions applied to the lid interior together with a spare bulb rack are also original.
As the war went on, more and more complex methods and additions were made to the machines to make cracking their codes even more difficult for the crafty code breakers at Bletchley Park.
It`s difficult to tell exactly how many Enigma machines were made, Bonhams said in a statement.
During the war, many were destroyed for fear of them falling into enemy hands, and documents about their manufacture were often burned or simply lost.
There were at least five mainstream versions employed by the German military. "Enigma machines rarely come up at auction, and this particular example is especially unique. It`s unusual because it has Bakelite thumb wheels instead of the more widely used metal ones: This was due to the diminishing availability of metal and other resources for the Wehrmacht towards the end of the war," Jon Baddeley, Specialist of Cameras, Scientific Instruments and Mechanical Music, said.
"It`s also special because it`s untouched and un-restored. Many machines were picked up by the allies as souvenirs during the final stages of World War II, and as such, their parts were mixed and matched. All of the elements of this one bear the same serial number, making it complete and original throughout," said Baddeley.