Newsletter 242 February 25, 2017

Newsletter 242 February 25, 2017

Here is an article from the German news site, Deutsche Welle, about the “Hitler telephone from his bunker” that was recently sold by Alexander Auctions for a great deal of money. When this appeared, a number of collectors wrote me about it but the question of authenticity is better addressed in the German article.

 

Hitler phone a fake: German phone expert

A phone sold as one used by Hitler and billed as “arguably the most destructive ‘weapon’ of all time” has been called a con by a German expert. The authenticity of the phone’s lineage has sparked online debate.

September 25, 2017

DW

The unnamed bidder who last week bought was what was said to have been Adolf Hitler’s phone for $243,000 (230,000 euros) may have been sold a fake, German media reported on Saturday.

“This is clearly a fake,” the Head of Collections at the Frankfurt Museum for Communication told the respected daily “Frankfurter Allgemeine.”

“The actual telephone was manufactured by Siemens & Halske, but the handset comes from an English telephone. It was never produced this way,” Frank Gnegel said. “It must have been assembled later in England”.

Gnegel presides over one of the most important collections of telephonic history in Europe.

The fact the phone and the Hitler emblem were painted red aroused further suspicions.

“Siemens would have built a proper example from dyed plastic, instead of unprofessionally painting over a black telephone,” Gnegel told the paper.

“Everything to do with Hitler was produced in a high-quality fashion; why should an engraving be simply be painted over? In addition, it is totally implausible that Hitler had a telephone with a rotary dial because he was always hand-connected in the telephone exchange.”

Phone enthusiasts skeptical

In response to incredulity about the device’s authenticity, the US auction house that sold the phone posted photos from inside the phone, but that just aroused further suspicion among online phone enthusiasts.

Dutch telephone restorer and blogger Arwin Schaddeleeraised several questions about its authenticity.

“The claim that this was a custom-made telephone by Siemens is contradicted by several clues on the telephone itself. Firstly it is marked W38. That is a designation used by the German post office. This indicates the telephone was originally supplied to them,” Schaddelee wrote.

“So if it was supplied to anyone else, it was not by Siemens but by the post office. If it was a custom telephone made by Siemens & Halske it would not, by definition, conform to the W38 specifications.

“Somebody found an interesting incomplete damaged phone, repaired it, painted it and cooked up a nice story to go with it,” he concluded.

An American phone enthusiast and head of the small non-profit The Telephone Museum, was similarly skeptical, pointing out several problems with the phone.

 

 

6 thoughts on “Newsletter 242 February 25, 2017

  1. You said this piece of dreck was fake and now that it has world-wide exposure, I wonder what the pea-brain who bought it is thinking? Isn’t this the same auction house that sold fake Mussolini watches? These creeps sell more fakes than the MAX show and can get away with it because they tell people that they really did not know that this or that piece of junk was a fake. One of these days, the roof will fall in on them and then we can all open a bottle of bubbly and have a good drink to the passing of the hearse down the street!
    Misha

    1. I saw this on the Internet and knew in a nano-second it was a fake.
      Big eagle and Hitler’s name cut into it and cheaply painted.
      I have Sofotos of Russian soldiers in the flooded bunker, one of whom is holding up a phone in Hitler’s quarters.
      It is obviously not the same model as the fake.
      I wrote to the auction house and they replied that Hitler had many phones.
      Sure he did.
      I remember an SA brown shirt loudly trumpeted as Hitler’s Very Own that was the wrong size, had the wrong colored buttons, an Austrian Anschluss ribbon pretending to be a Blood Order ribbon in the pocket flap but the real bit of stupidity was a fake Holters tailor’s label inside right next to a stamp into the cloth saying the shirt was a mass produced item for the RZM!
      Most of these drooling twits can barely read English, let alone German and I have seen “advanced collections” fuller of crap than a Christmas goose.
      And the buyer can get his money back the same day Jesus appears at a shopping mall in Dallas.
      ADR

  2. How about the actual home addresses of some of the top dealers? That way, if a collector is in their neighborhood, he can stop by and have a nice chat with the dealer. I have a list of a hundred and three dealers in the US, Germany and the UK. If you can use this, and better, publish it, please advise.
    Todd

  3. I think the idea of publishing addresses and phone numbers is excellent! Many dishonest dealers hide behind post office or accommodation addresses and gleefully rip off unsuspecting collectors. I have a few addresses in the UK which I shall forward to you for your use.
    I note with some humour that your article on the fake Hitler ‘phone resonated in the media. These Alexander Auction people have had a number of highly suspect pieces in the past, viz the Hitler desk set, the Mussolini watch and other ludicrous offerings.
    I have the name and address of the vendor here in the UK and will make an attempt to contact him and ascertain his role in all of this exotic nonsense.
    Many collectors are afraid to go public for fear they will be ostracized by the rest of the collecting world and punished by the crooked dealers who will not sell them items in which they have an interest.
    I know that this is all massive and lucrative fraud and apparently you are the only one, aside from Mr, Keating, who is willing, and able, to fight the crooked establishment.
    I wish you much success in your endeavours!
    Ian

    1. Thank you for your sending. The militaria market, in the Third Reich period, has been taken over by merchandisers and they have spent their time buying fakes and then selling them as originals for huge profits. At the same time, the oligarchs have done their best to marginalize any person who dares to question their authority. The problem is, most collectors, at least the newer ones, believe the nonsense, like the “Hitler telephone,” or other fantasy pieces. Eventually, some collector, probably a Russian one, will take offense at having been cheated and physically confront a dealer who swindled him. And if certain groups who hate Germans get going, they could well get the media up in arms and make life very difficult. We shall see.
      Arthur

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