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Rare Nazi Enigma machine used during World War II up for auction

By Daniel Uria
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Rare Nazi Enigma machine used during World War II up for auction
A rare three-cipher rotor design Enigma machine (M3) used by the Germans during World War II will be auctioned online on Thursday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

May 29 (UPI) -- A rare code-making machine used by the Nazis during World War II is set to be auctioned off online on Thursday evening.

California-based auction house Nate D. Sanders Auction has placed the so-called Enigma machine up for auction with a starting minimum bid of $200,000.

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The machine that is up for auction on Thursday is one of about 250 that were used in the war and still exist. It is also an M3 design with three rotors and matching parts, which makes it more rare.

It also features the original wood, the original battery, portions of the leather strap, metal wheels with the Third Reich emblem and instructions written in German under the lid.

Enigma machines were commonly used during WWII, but the number of models became scarce after Germany ordered them destroyed to prevent them from falling into enemy hands and Winston Churchill ordered the remaining machines destroyed at the end of the war.

The machine was capable of cracking codes that were considered "unbreakable," with its only inherent design flaw being that it scrambled letters into 17, 576 combinations, excluding the original letter.

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Ultimately, human error including ending each communication with the phrase "Heil Hitler" allowed Allied forces to decipher the codes.

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