An legendary Second World War artifact has been auctioned off for over half a million dollars. Christie's handled the sale of the Enigma M4 machine, which sold for $440,000 (PS347,250) to an unnamed bidder last week. The sale also included two other rare European mechanical typewriters dating from the 1920s-1950s.
The Enigma machine was invented by Austrian-German engineer Arthur Scherbius and first produced in 1935. It was used extensively by Germany during the war years. The ciphering process was very complicated, requiring several different settings of push buttons before sending letters. It was one of the most popular machines of its time; Hitler himself said it was his favorite device.
After the war had ended, secret police confiscated many of these machines, fearing they might be used by communists to spread false news. Only recently have historians begun to understand their importance: without them, certain events would have taken place differently, perhaps even preventing the second world war. They are now considered cultural property of Germany.
Enigma machines are valuable because they contain complex mixtures of metal alloys that are difficult to find elsewhere. Also, they use rotors that can be changed easily by hand in order to create different encryption keys every time they are used. These features made them highly effective at ciphers at the time they were developed.
Soldiers' medals (varying from $30 to $200,000), helmets ($300 to $15,000), and daggers ($300 to $300,000) are the most sought-after German World War II relics sold by Panagopulos, with price disparities dependent on condition and the prominence of the individual who previously held the item. For example, one of Hitler's field marshals received the highest price at his post-mortem examination.
Medals awarded for bravery or excellence in combat are valued according to their size and date of issue. A "war medal" is generally considered to be any medal awarded for service during a single war or campaign. A "campaign medal" is given for service during more than one campaign, but not necessarily over the same time period. For example, a soldier might receive a French Legion of Honour medal for service during two different campaigns against Allied forces. The medal would be regarded as three separate "war medals". Each war must also have been fought on different sides for it to be considered multiple medals.
The value of military medals varies depending on the rank of the recipient and the honorific titles displayed on the medal. A general, colonel, or lieutenant colonel can expect to earn up to $20,000 for a medal dating from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. A major or captain will usually bring less than $10,000. A private first class typically earns between $500 and $5,000 while a company commander may earn as much as $25,000.
The first person to answer will receive a cookie. Robeson USA Cutlery produced several Mk 2 utility combat knives for the US Navy and Marine Corps during and after WWII. They come in two varieties. The first edition is only worth roughly $100.00 in mint condition, however the second version is worth four or five times that much.
The second edition came with a black leather sheath and had "USMC" stamped on one side of the blade. These were issued from about 1950-1955. They are now worth between $400.00 and $500.00.
The third edition came with a white plastic sheath and had "USN" stamped on one side of the blade. These were issued from about 1960-1965. They are now worth between $200.00 and $300.00.
Robeson made several other military knives during this time period. Most are worth less than $50.00 each in good condition.
After the war ended, Robeson continued to make civilian utility knives under their Excelsior brand. These are now worth between $75.00 and $125.00.
In 1975, Robeson created a tactical folder called the Commander. It was designed specifically for use by law enforcement officers. These now sell for around $150.00 each in good condition.
In 1980, Robeson released a folding knife designed specifically for hunters called the Titan.
A 1927 White Rotary sewing machine's worth might be deceiving. One in good condition went for $3,000, while the most go for far less. A magnificent vintage white treadle machine with a good quality table top sold for about $350.
The value of your white rotary sewing machine depends on how much it cost and how much it is worth today. If you can find out what a similar machine is now worth, then you have a starting point. Add to that figure the amount you spent on yours and you have a fair idea of its value.
They were very popular between the world wars, so there are lots of them around. Even though they are no longer made or imported, they do still sell out of old stock. That means they must have some value. Have a look at old sewing machines on eBay or other online auction sites. You may even get invited to sell your own machine for use towards a cash reward.
White rotaries were designed to sew heavy fabrics such as wool and cotton. They had many more stitches per minute than modern machines, so work faster. Also, because they don't need electricity to work, they were useful for remote areas where there was not enough power supply to run a household machine.
These days, people prefer slow, reliable machines that don't require constant maintenance. This makes the value of white rotaries fall.
A mail-order firm is currently selling the Norden bombsight, one of the United States' most secret weapons during WWII, for $24.50. Norden bombsights were valued roughly $25,000 each when they were employed during the enormous bombing assaults on Germany and afterwards in the atomic bombings on Japan 20 years ago.
The bombsights were designed to be used by pilots who had only limited access to equipment carriers on their warplanes. The Norden sight allowed them to find their targets accurately even if their planes were flying at high altitudes where visual sighting was not possible. The bombsights also served as magnetic compasses in remote locations without any other means of direction finding.
During World War II, over 14,000 bombsights were manufactured by Norden, which is more than any other manufacturer. The company originally produced photographic sights, but during the war years, it switched to bomb aiming devices. After the war ended, Norden's products included cameras, electronic instruments, and gyroscopes. Today, the focus has shifted to other industries, but the bombsight remains one of the company's best-selling products.
The value of the Norden bombsight has increased over time. In 2001, it was estimated to be worth about $40 million then it dropped to $35 million the following year. In 2003, an American collector bought a Norden bombsight from the U.S. government for $150,000.
It costs around EUR 798 (USD 1000) at retail, while some dealers demand substantially higher amounts. Victorinox introduced the SwissChamp XAVT in the same year, with 118 components and 80 functions with a retail price of $425. It is not known how many are still in use today.
The story of the Swiss Army knife begins in 1884 with an army surgeon named Charles Kessler who bought the rights to manufacture a knife for soldiers on the Swiss battlefields. The knife was a success and soon other companies began copying it. In 1927, a young tool and die maker from Switzeland named Karl Elsener developed a new knife that included several new features that are still found in modern-day Swiss Army knives: a folding blade, a corkscrew, a saw, and a pair of pliers. The company that he started called "Swiss Army Knife" took notice and hired him so they could also include these new tools in their knives. Since then, every Swiss Army knife contains at least one of these five tools.
Today, more than 100 million Swiss Army knives have been sold worldwide. They are popular with both civilians and the military; in fact, some armies will only allow their members to carry a Swiss Army knife as their primary weapon. The product's popularity is due to its versatility; you can easily open cans, cut straps off of backpacks, and fix small injuries.