A birthday present given to Adolf Hitler has fetched a tiny proportion of price auctioneers had hoped. Belfast auction house, Bloomfield Auctions, witnessed the sale of the silver-plated pencil adorned with the initials “AH” and inscribed with ‘Eva’ in German, to an online bidder for £5,400 on Tuesday.
According to historical accounts, the pencil was gifted to the Nazi dictator by his long-term partner, Eva Braun, in celebration of his 52nd birthday on April 20, 1941. Since its initial auction purchase in 2002, the pencil has remained in the collector’s family until its recent sale.
In addition to the pencil, Bloomfield Auctions presented various other items associated with the Nazi regime during the 1930s and 1940s.
An original signed photograph of Hitler, initially projected to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000, was acquired for £6,200. Furthermore, a section of Swastika bunting was sold for £170, while an armband fetched a price of £190. Notably, all the items were purchased by online bidders.
The extensive militaria auction encompassed numerous items throughout the day, including historic British Army medals, deactivated firearms, a PSNI peaked cap purportedly worn by former Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan, and a treaty containing notes handwritten by Irish unionist leader Edward Carson.
Among the final items set to be sold was a rare Royal Pardon issued by Queen Victoria to Irish rebels convicted of high treason.
This particular pardon, dating back to 1869, bore Queen Victoria’s personal signature and seal. Royal Pardons, allowing the monarch to withdraw or offer alternatives to death sentences or exile, were granted to those found guilty of crimes against the Crown.
Notably, JFX O’Brien, a key figure mentioned in the pardon, was an Irish nationalist revolutionary who played a significant role in an uprising against British rule in 1867.
Following his conviction and sentencing to death, O’Brien was released in 1869 with the pardon from Queen Victoria. Subsequently, he went on to become the President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and an MP for Cork City.
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The decision by Bloomfield Auctions to proceed with the sale of Nazi-linked items drew criticism from Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the chairman of the European Jewish Association.
Rabbi Margolin urged the auction house to halt the sale on moral grounds, stating that trading items associated with senior Nazis was “an insult to the millions who perished” in the Holocaust, as well as to the survivors and Jews worldwide.
Responding to the concerns raised, the auction house emphasised that these items are part of history, attracting “legitimate collectors who have a passion for history”. They maintained that their intention was not to cause harm or distress to any individual or group in society, highlighting that each item possesses a unique story that reflects a specific era in history.