On Sunday, an antique red rotary telephone sold at auction for $243,000, according to the BBC. The reason for that lofty price tag? It was used by Adolf Hitler.
Auctioned off by the Maryland-based Alexander Historical Auctions, the phone had spent the decades since the end of World War II in a box in an English estate. Originally, the phone had sat next to Hitler’s bed in his famous bunker, and according to the auction house, was used by the dictator throughout the final two years of the war to dictate orders to the Nazi forces. At the end of the war, Soviet soldiers liberated the phone from the bunker, and gifted it to a British officer, Ralph Raynor, who kept it in the family until the present day.
The phone was finally put up for auction by Raynor’s son, Ranulf, who told CNN that he was happy to have it gone, saying, “It’s a fairly sinister bit of kit and I’ve always lived in fear of someone trying to steal it. I’ve also been told it’ll bring me bad luck.”
A utilitarian phone that was originally a flat black, for Hitler’s use it was painted red, and engraved with his name beneath the eagle-and-swastika crest of the Reich. The winning buyer, who purchased the artifact over the phone, has not been revealed.