WELLINGTON — Imagine holding in your hand two watches that once belonged to Hitler.
It might give some people the creeps, but two European collectors were willing to shell out $70,000 and $621,691 for watches that once belonged to the man responsible for millions of deaths in World War II.
The watches, which were discovered in estates in New Jersey, turned into amazing finds for Wellington auctioneers John Farkas and Connie Rose of Antiques and Estates Auctioneers.
Each was sold via auction in Geneva, Switzerland, where the watch market is especially strong.
The sale of the $70,000 watch was finalized about 10 days ago. It had been presented by Hitler to his physician, Dr. Theodor Morell, as Allied fighters were marching toward Germany after D-Day.
The watch includes Hitler’s signature and German words that loosely translate to “July 22, 1944, with most cordial wishes.”
The $621,691 watch, which sold in 2006 and was the auction firm’s largest sale ever, had been presented by Hitler to Hermann Goering, the most powerful man in the Third Reich aside from Hitler. It was Goering who was responsible for stripping Jews of their civil rights, and his zeal led to the creation of the first concentration camps.
Hitler’s gift to Goering took place on Christmas 1934, after Hitler became chancellor of Germany.
The 1905 A. Lange & Sohne watch was only one of four watches of its type, and just one other is still known to exist. It was inscribed with Hitler’s signature, the family crest of Goering and the words, “In cordial friendship at Christmas, 1934.”
Meanwhile, the gold hunting-cased, keyless pocket watch presented to Dr. Morell is also an A. Lange & Sohne watch made in 1938 and sold to a Berlin company which was the official supplier to the German government, and the Third Reich.
Farkas declined to list the firm’s cut from the sale of either watches, except to say, “both days were very good days.”
Rose said historic items have incredible stories to tell.
“It’s like holding history in your hands — it’s mind-boggling,” she said.
Neither Rose nor Farkas would elaborate on where the watches came from besides saying they were part of estates. But the pair said they were chosen to auction them because they are known for handling offbeat, unusual and unique estates.
Farkas said that a lot more memorabilia from that era is emerging because veterans who served in Europe during World War II are dying, and items they brought back with them are being found in their belongings.
Farkas said he enjoys researching items and finding out about the people involved.
Farkas said Morell was known for giving Hitler odd injections, perhaps barbiturates and other narcotics. And Morell was in the infamous bunker where Hitler finally committed suicide along with his wife, Eva Braun, whom he had married two days earlier.
Both Braun and Hitler took cyanide pills and Hitler shot himself in the head, but Morell went on to live after the war without punishment for his association with the Fuhrer.
As for Goering, he took his own life Oct. 15 1946, with a hidden cyanide pill hours before his scheduled hanging following his conviction at the International Military Tribunal of Nuremberg.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courtesy Antiques and Estates AuctionEers
Hitler’s doctor’s watch sold for $70,000.