Hitler’s red telephone, his “mobile device of destruction,” is going up for grabs at an auction house in Maryland this month.
Alexander Historical Auctions have announced that the auction will take place on February 19. The bidding will start at $100,000, with the auction house expecting bids to rise as high as $300,000.
The auction house is calling the phone, given to Hitler by the German armed forces, “Hitler’s mobile device of destruction” and “arguably the most destructive ‘weapon’ of all time” because the Führer more than likely sent millions to their deaths by shouting orders into it during the last two years of World War II.
Made specifically for the Führer, the phone is inscribed with a Nazi eagle, a swastika, and his name. And it was indeed mobile (although obviously not wireless), able to be carried around in a travel case.
According to Alexander Historical Auctions, British Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner confiscated the red phone following the Nazis’ defeat. The story goes that Russian officers gave Rayner a tour of Hitler’s residence and offices in Berlin after he reached out to them on May 5, 1945, amid the German surrender.
Ranulf Rayner, Rayner’s 82-year-old son, said in a YouTube video that his father saw a black phone by Eva Braun’s bed, and a red phone by Hitler’s. At first, the Russian officers told Rayner to take Braun’s phone as a “trophy of war,” but Rayner said no, that he “loved the color red.” The Russian officers obliged.
As for who the phone will go to next, Rayner’s son Ranulf told CNN that he’d like to see it go to a museum.
“I don’t want them to be hidden again,” he said. “I want them to remind the world of the horrors of war.”