107. Rare German Three-Rotor Enigma Encoding Machine

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serial #A 20155. This is a Heer (Army) machine with "Waffenamt Eagle/WaA 584" acceptance marking on the inside of the lid below the white instructional plate affixed to the inside of the lid; each rotor features an identical Waffenamt. The machine is in a fine state of preservation. The black wrinkle painted keyboard housing retains nearly all of its original black crinkle-finish paint with excellent original dark gray paint on the body of the machine and rotor cover plate. there is a white plastic instructional plate affixed to the inside of this cover which reads "Nur Gluhlampen mit 12mm/Durchmesser verwenden" (use only bulbs of 12 mm diameter). All of the keys are in excellent condition and remain uncracked and brilliant, there is a serial number plate affixed to the black wrinkle painted keyboard cover, it reads "A/20155/jla/44". The lamp board has 21 of 28 bulbs present on the tableau, 6 are modern American replacements and one socket receptacle is empty. Remarkably there are six correct larger bulbs which fit to the "Kabelprufung" and "Lampenprufung" sockets with one of the smaller more common bulbs present on the inside of the lid, all have intact glass. The battery compartment is currently empty and the steel pieces on the interior shows some moderate oxidation. The cipher rotor mechanism is still fully functional. The key faces and the celluloid windows all remain in excellent condition with the letter "R" showing some very light scuffing and flaking to its interior, the "H" and "J" with a tiny bit of crackling (the original bulbs for these machines have an oblong globe which is somewhat flat; American bulbs are circular in profile and contact the interior face of the celluloid window and can cause an abrasion over time). The instruction sheet in the lid is in place and is in excellent condition; the green-tone glare shield is no longer present. The Bakelite front face switchboard rates excellent and is un-cracked and unblemished with all of the letters completely legible and the sharp. The machine is housed in a slightly weathered original case that has an oak veneer covering which is delaminating on the cover; the bottom actually showing a few flaked spots of loss. The hinges and all hardware are predominantly a dull pewter gray showing some light oxidation present. The original serial number front-plate is intact and the leather carry handle of the earlier models has been replaced with a flush-mount steel fold-up carry handle. The four pinkish-toned rubber "feet" are no longer intact on the base of the machine, there is only one present, it is detached. The three rotor Enigma allowed for a possible 3,000,000,000,000,000,000 (3 quintillion) cryptological permutations which the Germans understandably considered effectively unbreakable (although that did not stop the Kriegsmarine from introducing a four rotor Enigma, codenamed "Shark" by the Allies, for added security). Unfortunately for the Germans, Allied codebreakers had cracked the code and were able to read most of the Wehrmacht's high level Enigma encrypted communications, provided they could ascertain the correct rotor settings. The decoded German intercepts formed part of a growing pool of decrypted Axis transmissions, known as ULTRA to Allied intelligence, and were instrumental in the eventual defeat of the Third Reich. The existence and significance of ULTRA remained a closely guarded secret until their disclosure in the mid-1970's by the French. As the war came to a close most of the Enigma machines in the German military were either destroyed or buried to prevent them from falling into the hands of the advancing Allies. Wehrmacht Enigma machines are among the rarest of Second World War artifacts with an estimated 70 surviving examples, most of which reside in museum collections like those of the Smithsonian and Bletchley Park. Only a mere handful of original machines are in private hands making this a very rarely-seen opportunity for the advanced Second World War or cryptological collector. (36229-A67) [Elliott Riggs Collection] (30000/50000) SOLD FOR $86,250.00

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