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Hundreds Of KGB Devices, Other Cold War-Era Artifacts Up For Auction

A Soviet version of the Enigma code cipher machine will be up for sale.
A Soviet version of the Enigma code cipher machine will be up for sale.

American auction house Julien's is putting up hundreds of artifacts from the Cold War-era up for auction early next year.

Julien’s said the auction will be the “world's first and most comprehensive auction event offering some of the rarest and most important artifacts from the U.S, Soviet Union, and Cuba during the Cold War era ever to be assembled and offered at auction.”

Some 400 artifacts will be sold online and then in-person from mid-January to February 13, 2021.

Among the items are a gun designed to look like a tube of lipstick, a purse with a hidden camera, and a hotel-room listening device used by Soviet intelligence.

The items were recently displayed at the KGB Espionage Museum in New York -- a private museum opened in 2019 by Lithuanian historian Julius Urbaitis that has closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are not aware of any similar auction for this genre. There is going to be a massive follow up on this because people are so fascinated by all this," said Julien's CFO Martin Nolan.

Estimates for the items range from a few hundred dollars to $12,000, which is the estimate for a rare Soviet version of the Enigma code cipher machine known as the Fialka.

"This is not massively expensive stuff, this is fun stuff that...can trigger a fascinating conversation at a dinner party," said Nolan.

With reporting by AFP
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