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IPFS News Link • Techno Gadgets

Rare Engima machine sells at auction for $232,000

•, By Chris Wood

During its years of use, the German military altered and refined the Enigma cipher machine, creating numerous different models. The 1943 example included three rotors, and was sold complete with an oak hinged-lid carrying case. 

The final sale price of the machine was £149,000 (US$232,015), significantly more than the expected £50,00-70,000 ($78,000-109,000) figure. It was purchased by an unnamed buyer. Given the historical significance of the machine (it was originally invented in 1918), the high sale price of auctioned example is really no surprise.

To use Enigma, the operator would type in a message, then scramble it using three, four or five notched rotors, each with 26 possible positions. Whoever received the message needed to know the exact settings of the rotors, and those of the machine's plugboard, in order to decode the message. There were more than 159 million million million possible configurations (that's not a typo), and the settings were changed daily.