Hitler’s telephone being presented by the previous owner Ranulf Rayner, whose father acquired it in 1945. (Photo: Alexander Historic Auctions/Facebook)
The most destructive “weapon” of all time — Adolf Hitler’s telephone — fetched $243,000 at an auction in Maryland on Sunday.
The winning bid was made by phone, but the name of the bidder has not been released, CNN reports. Though the owner hoped it would be bought by a museum.
Recovered from the Fuhrerbunker during the last days of World War II, the phone was “arguably the most destructive ‘weapon’ of all time, which sent millions to their deaths around the world,” Alexander Historical Auctions noted in a description.
Since 1945, the old rotary phone had been tucked away in an English house in the country before it was auctioned off in the U.S. this past weekend.
The phone was gifted to Hitler during the last two years of the war and while it was originally black Bakelite, it was painted red – said to be Hitler’s favorite color – and engraved on the back with his name, an eagle, and a swastika.
British officer Ralph Rayner took the phone, but essentially kept it a secret at first, as British soldiers caught looting could face court martial. Rayner’s son, Ranulf, then inherited the phone when his father died in 1977.
Rayner said his father described the bunker as a “dreadful hellhole” where “he could still smell burning flesh.”