Unlike the 3-rotor machines whose cipher codes were famously broken by those working at Britain's Bletchley Park during the war, the 4-rotor model heading to auction is among the rarest of the rare, and is sure to command a high price. Besides cipher machines, however, the sale also offers a range of unusual and sought after examples of scientific instruments and musical automata that should also attract a great deal of interest. We take a look at a few prime examples.
Gizmag recently reported on the sale of an M3 Enigma machine at Sotheby's, which went for a cool £149,000 (US$232,015). Largely intact apart from a missing bulb and some surface rust, this model was extremely sought after by collectors, this being reflected in its high sale price. The M4 model from Bonhams, however, is a four-rotor machine that was produced in even smaller numbers and – after the concerted effort to destroy Enigma machines by the German army as they retreated – is an exceptionally rare model indeed.