An old rotary phone that’s been tucked away in an English house in the country since 1945 is headed to auction in the United States later this month. Its significance? The antique phone, described by the auction house as a “mobile device of destruction,” once belonged to Adolf Hitler.
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.
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.