This Enigma machine has sold.

This is a complete WWII German Enigma machine in very fine working condition. This model Enigma machine was the primary cipher machine for the German military from 1932 through 1945.

Although it is more than 70 years old, this Enigma machine is an excellent, museum-quality example of a 3-rotor Army Enigma (a.k.a. “Heeres Enigma”, or “Enigma I”). It has been gently restored to working condition.

The serial number of this machine is A01259. The identification tag located on the front of the keyboard reads “A01259/bac/44E”. This indicates that this Enigma was made during the war by Ertel-Werk in Munich, Germany in 1944.

This Enigma machine was manufactured for and used by the German military during World War II however, it survived the war with no significant damage and appears to have been stored in a stable and dry environment. All of the internal wiring of this Enigma as well as the wiring of the rotors and reflector have been checked and verified to work just as the machine would have upon issue to the German military in 1944. 

Condition: This Enigma is complete and in museum-quality, working condition. The machine includes three rotors (I, II, and III). The rotors have been refurbished and renumbered using as many original parts as possible and were not issued with this machine. The rotors have the serial number “A01259/bac/44E”. The reflector in this machine is marked “A01259/bac/44E” matching the serial number of the machine. The finish on the oak transport case has been lightly restored to stabilize the wood. The leather handle on the oak transport case was missing and an exact replica handle has been attached. It appears that a minor repair to the box was expertly done at some time in the past. The machine and the oak case are in excellent condition and show wear characteristic of machines that were in use during the war (see the photographs below). The green contrast screen was not present when Enigma Museum acquired this machine. An exact replica contrast screen has been placed in the wooden box top. Any missing or nonfunctional light bulbs have been replaced with exact replica bulbs. To allow the buyer to use the Enigma, a battery holder that accepts standard flashlight batteries is included.

Also accompanying Enigma A01259 is an original WWII German military telegraph key, two copies of original Enigma operating manuals, and a signed copy of Dr. Thomas Perera’s book Inside Enigma. 

Enigma machines are extremely rare. German officers had orders to destroy them rather than let them be captured at the end of the war. The Germans had no idea that the Allies had broken the Enigma codes and felt that they had to keep their secret code machines from falling into the hands of the enemy. German soldiers would smash them with rifle butts, kick them, throw them into lakes, and even explode hand grenades inside them when their positions were about to surrender or be overrun by advancing Allied forces. As a result, less than one percent of Enigma machines survived the war. Most that did survive the war are now in museums or in private collections.

Allied code breakers, including Alan Turing, developed the world’s first computers to break the Enigma codes. Successful Allied code breaking efforts against the Enigma cipher machine, first by the Poles and then by the British and Americans, are attributed with shortening the war by as much as two years, saving thousands of lives, and denying Germany the time needed to perfect an atomic bomb.

This Enigma has been in our collection for more than 17 years and was purchased from a collector in Germany. The collector purchased the machine in the 1970s from a dealer known to trade in Enigma machines that were used by West Germany in the decades after WWII. A few countries including Austria, Norway, Israel, and West Germany were encouraged by the British to use Enigma machines post war. The British did not inform these countries that they could break the Enigma codes – this was at the start of the Cold War. The last of the few in-service post war Enigma machines were either destroyed or sold in the mid 1970s after the public release of information detailing the Allied codebreaking successes against Enigma codes during WWII. When purchased, this Enigma machine was not accompanied by any rotors. The rotors that now accompany this machine were acquired separately from the machine and are refurbished and renumbered as mentioned above.

Enigma machine A01259 is a very fine working example of one of the most important pieces of WWII and computer history.




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SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT PRICES: The Germans destroyed their Enigma machines rather than risk capture as they retreated from Allied forces in the final years of the war.  In addition, Allied forces were ordered to destroy all German Enigma Machines at the end of WWII. Therefore, they are exceptionally hard to find. The difficulty in finding Enigma machines coupled with an increasing recognition of the historic importance of these machines has led to a steady increase in prices over the last 10 years. In 2021, a 3-rotor German Army WWII Enigma sold at open auction by Sotheby’s for $ 441,000 US Dollars with the buyer’s premium factored in. All of the Enigmas sold on this website are complete and in working condition (unless otherwise stated) although, since the Germans used brass electrical contacts instead of gold, silver, or platinum, perfect operation on every key press can not be guaranteed.