Adolf Hitler's personal phone fetches $243,000 at US auction
Los Angeles : Adolf Hitler's personal phone, recovered from the Fuhrer bunker in Berlin after the fall of the Nazi regime, sold at an auction in the US for $243,000, a media report said.
The Alexander Historical Auctions house sold the device to an anonymous highest bidder in Maryland on Sunday. The phone was kept in a briefcase in the English countryside since 1945, Efe news reported.
Described in the catalogue as "the most destructive weapon of all time, which sent millions (of people) to their deaths", the phone was put up for sale at the auction of military objects with bidding starting at $100.000.
The device, made in Bakelite by the German company Siemens, went to a "private collector from North America," Andreas Kornfeld, vice president of the auction house said.
Kornfeld said: "It was awarded in a telephone bid, it's a good price, we're happy".
To this day, the device was kept in the leather briefcase which Ranulf Rayner, 82, from England, inherited from his father, Brigadier Ralph Rayner, who was perhaps the first non-Soviet soldier to enter Hitler's bunker.
The phone, which Hitler received from the Wehrmacht (Nazi Germany's Armed Forces) and used during the last two years of World War II in vehicles and trains as well as in field headquarters, was originally black, but was then painted a crimson red.
On the back of the phone, the name Adolf Hitler is clearly seen in capital letters, engraved next to the eagle and the swastika, the symbol of the Nazi Party.
"It was Hitler's mobile device of destruction," the auction house said, noting that possibly the Nazi leader gave some of his last orders through the telephone, before committing suicide on April 30, 1945.
After the Soviet Army had taken control of the devastated German capital, Brigadier Ralph Rayner (1896-1977) was commissioned to establish contact with the Red Army in Berlin, who then invited him to visit Hitler's bunker.
As a gift, the Soviet military offered him the black telephone found in the room of Eva Braun, wife of the "Fuhrer", but the British officer declined the offer and chose a red one near the bed of Hitler.
"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," Rayner explained.
"He never thought it would become an important artifact," he said.