A silver-plated pencil purported to have belonged to Adolf Hitler is going under the hammer in Belfast next month and is estimated to sell for between £50,000 and £80,000 (€57,000-€92,000).
It is believed to have been a gift to the former Nazi dictator from his long-term partner Eva Braun for his 52nd birthday on April 20th, 1941.
The pencil, originally bought by a collector at an auction in 2002, is inscribed with “Eva” in German and the initials “AH”.
The sale of wide-ranging historical items at Bloomfield Auctions in east Belfast on June 6th will also include an original signed photograph of Hitler and a rare handwritten pardon by Queen Victoria dated to 1869 for Irish rebels convicted of treason.
Karl Bennett, managing director of the auction house, said they expect interest from around the world.
“The importance of Hitler’s engraved personal pencil lies in the fact that it helps to unravel a hidden piece of history, giving a unique insight into Hitler’s personal relationships, which he scrupulously kept hidden from the public eye,” he said.
“Much of Hitler’s personal appeal during his dictatorship derived from his carefully constructed identity as the father of the German nation, who rejected personal connection in favour of loyalty to his country.
“This love token of a personalised pencil from Eva on his birthday helps reveal the deception behind Hitler’s public facade.”
Bennett said careful research and discussion with the item vendor about where the item was obtained “gave me confidence that what I’m telling people I’m selling is the actual item”.
He added that he could understand why people may have reservations about selling and collecting items belonging to the dictator.
“But for me, as a high-end collector of militaria items, they preserve a piece of our past and should be treated as historical objects, no matter if the history they refer to was one of the darkest and most controversial in recorded history,” he said. – Guardian