ENIGMA MACHINE A Rare 3-Rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine (aka Heeres Enigma), made by Heimsoeth und Rinke, Berlin, 1935.

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Lot 292
ENIGMA MACHINE
A Rare 3-Rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine (aka Heeres Enigma), made by Heimsoeth und Rinke, Berlin, 1935.

US$ 170,000 - 220,000
£ 140,000 - 180,000
ENIGMA MACHINE
A Rare 3-Rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine (aka Heeres Enigma), made by Heimsoeth und Rinke, Berlin, 1935. An early military Enigma machine in working condition, serial number A3995, inner front panel with "Klappe schliessen" stamp, and metal stamped Enigma label inside the lid, original rotors I, IV, V marked with the serial number 3995, and reflector, standard QWERTY keyboard of 26 keys, white on black backgrounds, battery switch, ebonite Steckerbrett [plugboard] with 10 stecker cables (8 plugged into the Steckerbrett and 2 spares stored in the top lid of case), battery case with modern battery, upper lid with 10 bulbs, contrast screen , and original "Zur Beachtung" instructions inside the lid . 340 x 820 x 170mm (.13 1/4 x 11 x 6 1/2 inches). In its original stained oak box, with hinged front panel and leather carrying handle.

A VERY FINE FULLY OPERATIONAL EXAMPLE OF A RARE EARLY ENIGMA I MACHINE IN ORIGINAL CONDITION WITH THE CORRECT EARLY STYLE ROTORS.
The low serial number 3995 indicates that this machine was made in 1935, making it among the first Enigmas to be delivered to the German Military as they built up their armed forces in the 1930s. The Enigma was designed and Patented by Arthur Scherbius in 1918, the Enigma machine utilizes three interchangeable rotors which scramble plain-text messages and produce a cipher text message which is then sent, generally via Morse code, to a receiving party with an Enigma set up in the same configuration as the sending Enigma. All of the machines could use the interchangeable wheels from any enigma, so to find a matching set of wheels with the same serial number as the Enigma is quite rare. Though the German military was familiar with the Enigma, it was not adopted as their primary cipher device until 1926, when they discovered that all German Naval coded messages had been intercepted and read by the British during the latter half of WWI.

This example of the standard three rotor enigma machine "Modell 1" was used principally by the army (Wehrmacht), and was their favored enciphering device. British attempts to break the Enigma code were fruitless for years. The breakthrough eventually came after the creation of the famous British codebreaking center Bletchley Park. Using the technology transferred to them from the brilliant Polish codebreaking team, as well as documents supplied by the French Intelligence from a German spy. Alan Turing, along with Knox, Foss and many others were able to break the Enigma code in 1941, shortening the war by an estimated two years, and saving countless lives.

It is unknown exactly how many enigma machines were made,
but we know that relatively few survived the war. Rather than have the machines fall into enemy hands, commanders were ordered to destroy these secret machines upon retreat, and documents pertaining to their manufacture were burned or in many cases simply lost. On top of this, Churchill announced that he had ordered all Enigma machines to be destroyed at the end of the war. In the 24
museums around the world that have Enigma machines on display, just 50 Enigma machines are recorded, of which some 40 are Enigma Is. Every now and then a cache of Enigma Is discovered, such as the hidden government room in Madrid with numerous machines used by Franco during the Spanish Civil War, but at auction in Britain and America just two examples come to the market each year.

A detailed condition report on this Enigma machine, drawn up by Enigma Museum, Vermont is available on request.
Contacts
ENIGMA MACHINE A Rare 3-Rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine (aka Heeres Enigma), made by Heimsoeth und Rinke, Berlin, 1935.
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