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Enigma Machine To Be Auctioned In London

September 19, 2011 by  

LONDON, Sept. 17 (UPI) — A version of one of the most famous encryption machines in history, World War II-era Germany’s Enigma, is coming up for auction in London.

The machine is to go on the block Sept. 29 at Christie’s, CNN reported.

James Hyslop of Christie’s said few Enigma machines come up for sale, although several thousand are believed to still survive. Last year, a machine auctioned at Christie’s fetched a record price of $106,164.

“We’re hoping we might be able to push that again this time round,” he said.

What guaranteed the Enigma’s place in history was the successful British effort to break its code. Mathematician Alan Turing, a pioneering computer theoretician, was one of the leaders in the deciphering program at Bletchley Park.

German cryptographers believed the Enigma was unbreakable because of the huge number of possible combinations allowed by its interchangeable rotors. Receiving machines had to be at the same setting as sending ones.

Simon Greenish, director of the Bletchley Park museum, said historians now believe cracking the code may have made the difference between victory and defeat for the allies.

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