A silver-plated pencil said to have belonged to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was sold Tuesday for only a tenth of its pre-auction estimate.
A bidder bought the writing instrument for £5,400 (approximately $6,700). Northern Ireland’s Bloomfield Auctions had said ahead of the sale that they believed the item was worth at least £50,000 ($62,000).
The pencil initialed AH was “owned and used by Adolf Hitler, given to him by Eva Braun on his 52nd birthday,” the auction house’s website stated.
The Belfast-based auctioneers also sold what they described as a 1920s ”personally autographed photo by Adolf Hitler” of himself for £6,200 (approximately $7,700).
A section of Swastika bunting sold for £170 ($210) and an armband sold for £190 ($235).
All of the items were bought by online bidders.
The sales came despite calls for the auction to be canceled.
Critics argue that in addition to appealing to fans of Nazism, they offer Nazi leaders celebrity status, adding little to the historical understanding of their actions.
President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, told the Jewish Chronicle that the sale was “distressing, disturbing and hugely disrespectful.”
“These items have no place in our country other than inside the walls of a museum or other institution where they can be used to teach about the results of antisemitism,” she said.
Speaking to The Guardian ahead of the auction, Karl Bennett, managing director of Bloomfield Auctions, said: “The importance of Hitler’s engraved personal pencil lies in the fact that it helps to unravel a hidden piece of history, giving a unique insight into Hitler’s personal relationships, which he scrupulously kept hidden from the public eye.”
The Chairman of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin disputed this view in a letter that he sent Bennett last week, urging him to withdraw the sale.
The auction was part of a “macabre trade in items belonging to mass murderers, the motives of those buying them are unknown and may glorify the actions of the Nazis, and lastly, their trade is an insult to the millions who perished, the few survivors left, and to Jews everywhere,” Margolin wrote.
Last year, a watch said to have belonged to Hitler and given to him in 1933 fetched $1.1 million at an auction by Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland in the United States.