Enigma Machine, Signed ‘Big Three’ Presidential Card Among Rare WWII Items At RR Auction On D-Day Anniversary

As the United States and Europe commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day when American soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy to rid the continent of Nazi Germany, RR Auction is hosting a special World War II auction. The auction house is selling over two dozen items related to WWII.

The highest-bid item, so far, is the WWII German Enigma I Cipher Machine, which would send encoded messages. As of Thursday, June 6, the price has topped out at $96,671 with six days left in the auction. Its estimated value is $165,000.

WWII German Enigma I Cipher Machine
WWII German Enigma I Cipher Machine. (credit: RR Auction)

“Ultra-desirable, fully functional World War II-era three-rotor Enigma I electromechanical cipher machine built for the German military by Heimsoeth and Rinke in Berlin in 1943,” the RR Auction description lot reads. “Based on the chassis of the commercial Enigma D, the Enigma I machine was the standard Enigma machine used by the German military throughout the war. It features an ebonite Steckerbrett [plugboard] on the front, which was exclusive to the German armed forces and exponentially increased the complexity of the code. This version of the Enigma is sometimes referred to as the Heeres [Army] Enigma, Wehrmacht Enigma, or Luftwaffe Enigma due to its military-specific application.”

Another remarkable piece in the auction is a presidential card signed by the “Big Three” Allied leaders — American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Union President Joseph Stalin. The card was signed by the world leaders during the Tehran Conference in 1943. It’s currently bidding at $13,616. RR Auction estimates its value at $60,000.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin Signed Presidential Card from the Tehran Conference
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin Signed Presidential Card from the Tehran Conference. (credit: RR Auction)

“The historic Tehran Conference was the first of the World War II conferences of the ‘Big Three’ Allied leaders, preceding the Yalta and Potsdam conferences of 1945. The main outcome of the meeting was the Western Allies’ commitment to open a second front against Nazi Germany, laying the groundwork for ‘Operation Overlord’—the invasion of Normandy—in 1944. It also marked the beginning of discussions on the division of Europe and the post-war settlement, foreshadowing the tensions of the emerging Cold War,” notes RR Auction in the description lot. “The conference elevated the status of the Soviet Union as a global power and affirmed the principles of democracy, self-determination, and human rights as central to the Allied vision for the post-war world. In essence, the Tehran Conference solidified the Allied commitment to defeating Nazi Germany and laid the foundation for the geopolitical landscape of the 20th century.”

One of the coolest items, though, is the historic 48-star U.S. Naval Ensign flag from the USS Burnett County, a tank landing ship that took part in the invasion of Normandy. The flag has a high bid of $7,139 and it’s expected to sell for $3,000.

Normandy Invasion Flag from the USS Burnett County
Normandy Invasion Flag from the USS Burnett County. (credit: RR Auction)

“The cotton flag, 60 x 36, marked as size ‘No. 11,’ contains seven red and six white horizontal alternating stripes and a dark blue canton with 48 white stars. Also included are other World War II souvenirs, including various pieces of shrapnel, shell casings, currency, and a handwritten note from the sailor who collected the flag and shrapnel, detailing where he found the items; the note, which is in several pieces, comes with a modern transcription. In very good to fine condition, with overall darkened toning, scattered marks and stains, and a tattered fly end. Originates from the collection of WWII veteran George Wimpenny Roy, Seaman 1st Class, U.S. Navy,” says RR Auction in the description lot.

The World War II auction ends June 12. Click here for more information.

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