NEW YORK — A brass desk set inscribed “AH” and used by Adolf Hitler at the signing of the Munich Pact, which preceded World War II, has sold for $423,000, a US auction house said.
The ceremonial desk set, including ink wells and the Nazi crest of an eagle and swastika, had been expected to fetch at least half a million dollars.
It did not fetch the minimum reserve price and failed to sell at live auction. However, a separate deal was subsequently reached with the highest bidder and a sale agreed, said auctioneers Alexander Autographs.
“For all intents and purposes the piece is sold for $423,000,” president of the auction house, Bill Panagopulos, said.
Andreas Kornfeld, also with the auctioneers, said the buyer was a private US west coast collector.
The set may have been designed by Hitler himself, the auction house said.
Historic news photos show Hitler, Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini, Britain’s prime minister Neville Chamberlain, and France’s premier Edouard Daladier gathered at a desk featuring the brass pieces during the signing of the pact on September 30, 1938.
The Munich Pact ceded the Sudetenland, a heavily ethnic-German part of Czechoslovakia, to Germany and was meant to appease Hitler’s expansionist ambitions.
However, the pact served to encourage Hitler, leading to Germany’s invasion of Poland and the triggering of World War II.