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20 July 2007

The relics of the code wars past

If you are looking for that perfect gift for the spook who has everything, you could do far worse than to get them their own fully functional authentic Engima cipher machine.

There are few items more totemic in their physical incarnation than this humble collection of wires, rotors, and lights. Yet this machine, and the false confidence in its security, killed more Germans than all of Bomber Commands - and in its closely related incarnations, killed more Japanese than the atomic bomb.

It is also the symbol of perhaps the greatest victory of intelligence in the history of the Western services. Nothing like it may ever exist again as a focal point of such unique and incomparable import and value.

We are a few days late in catching this item, so bids have now exceeded $28,000 (after delisting and re-listing of the auction. (If you simply must have it for yourself, it's an immediate purchase price of $50,000). But for those that can afford to give that special someone in their life the very best, it is more than worth it.

h/t Castle Arrgh!, Slashdot, and the many others which noticed this most unusual of listings.

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