Own this rare and important piece of WWII and computer history.

This is a complete, restored, museum-quality WWII German Enigma machine in excellent working condition. This model Enigma machine was the primary cipher machine for the German military from 1932 through 1945.

The serial number of this Enigma machines is A16878. The metal ID tag on the keyboard reads “A16878/jla/43” which indicates that this cipher machine was made during the war by Heimsoeth and Rinke in Berlin in 1943.  This Enigma includes three rotors (I, II, and III). All three rotors carry the serial number A16878 matching that of the machine. The reflector in this machine has the serial number A16878 and also matches that of the machine. The three rotors and the reflector were issued with this machine in 1943.

This Enigma machine was manufactured for and used by the German military during World War II. It was discovered in an old wood shed in Antwerp, Belgium in 2017. Upon discovery, the machine was missing the plugboard, the wooden transport case, and the plug cables. Enigma Museum acquired the machine and conducted a full restoration of the machine over the course of 2018-19. A full description of the restoration process for Enigma A16878 is provided at the following link:

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 1943. 

Although it is more than 70 years old, this Enigma machine is a very good, museum-quality example of a restored 3-rotor Army Enigma (a.k.a. “Heeres Enigma”, or “Enigma I”). It has been meticulously restored to working condition. To allow the buyer to use the Enigma, a battery holder that accepts standard flashlight batteries is included as are two copies of original Enigma operating manuals, a signed copy of Dr. Thomas Perera’s book Inside Enigma, and an original WWII German military telegraph key.

Enigma Museum acquired the Enigma oak transport case that accompanies this machine from the family of a US soldier who served in Europe during WWII. The soldier sent the case back from Europe to his home address in the US. The case was filled with items the soldier had acquired during his service in Europe. The case did not contain an Enigma machine when it was sent to the US. The case is in exceptional original condition and still displays the soldier’s mailing address where he wrote it on the oak top. An exact replica green contrast screen and “Zur Beachtung” information plate have been placed in the lid of the wooden transport case to compete the original appearance of the case. This transport case is in exceptional condition.

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 they had to keep their secret code machines from 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 government 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 by the Poles, 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 develop an atomic bomb.

Enigma machine A16878 is a very fine working example of one of the most important pieces of WWII and computer history.

Click the following link for details regarding the restoration of Enigma A16878:

Enigma A16878 is currently available for sale and located in the US.




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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 auction at Sotheby’s for $ 440,000 US Dollars with the buyer’s premium factored in. All of the Enigmas sold on this website are complete and in working condition although, since the Germans used brass electrical contacts instead of gold, silver, or platinum, perfect operation on every keypress can not be guaranteed.