‘Enigma’ ciphering machine brings $101,000 in vintage technology auction

German cipher way spy code machine

A legendary ‘Enigma’ ciphering machine from 1938, which influenced WWII dramatically, was the top lot at Auction Team Breker’s May 26 sale of vintage science, technology and toys.

So complex are the Enigma’s 22 billion possible combinations, an original prospectus claimed, that it would take one man working continuously day and night, and trying a different cipher-key every minute, 42,000 years to exhaust all the possibilities. However, it took a private buyer just a few minutes to bid the machine’s final sale price to $101,450, more than 10 times the published reserve. Read More +

The Milhous Collection’s extraordinary music machines and antique automobiles offered Feb. 24-25, 2012


One of the world’s finest private museums, the Milhous Collection, will be offered during a multi-day sale in late February in Boca Raton, Fla.

RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby’s, is handling the sale comprised of over five decades of judicious collecting by brothers Bob & Paul Milhous. The extraordinary collection features an unparalleled series of mechanical musical instruments, automobiles and collectibles, handpicked from around the world and representing the ‘best of the very best’. Read More +

Reader solves mystery hidden inside Acme Semaphore Traffic Signal


In the April 6, April 20 and May 4, 2011 editions Antique Trader honored me by breaking tradition and for the first time in their history ran an article over three editions. The article was titled, “One Collector’s Holy Grail” and was the complete (actually, almost complete) story of the rise and fall of the Acme Semaphore Traffic Signal Company. For those who missed any part, and even for those who read it all, the article can now be found in a full-color download posted online. Read More +