Two signed copies of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” were sold at auction Thursday in Los Angeles, according to Laura Yntema, auction manager at Nate D. Sanders Auctions. The books, editions from 1925 and 1926, sold for a total of $64,850.
The Associated Press reported Feb. 28 that the two books were purchased by an anonymous buyer. The winning bid was one of only 11 submitted.
According to the auction house, Adolf Hitler gave the books to Josef Bauer, an early follower of the man who would become first Chancellor, then dictator, of Germany. Bauer was with Hitler at the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, the failed attempt by the Nazi Party to take over the German city and the incident that would bring national exposure to the ultra-conservative, radical movement — even though Adolf Hitler himself would serve nine months in prison for his role in the violent confrontation.
“Mein Kampf,” which was written by Hitler, had its origins during his imprisonment following the Putsch. Autobiographical, it outlines the former German soldier’s political ideology and his views of a future Germany.
Volumes of “Mein Kampf” from the 1930s are more common. Copies signed by Hitler are rare. The books were both pre-30s editions and signed make them exceptionally so.
Nate Sanders, owner of the auction house, told the Associated Press in an earlier interview that the books would probably fetch at least $20,000.
For those wondering who would even want to own a copy of “Mein Kampf,” Sanders explained that although owning Nazi memorabilia is illegal in some European countries, collectors such as history aficionados would jump at the chance to add a signed copy of “Mein Kampf” to their collections.
In a bit of a twist, Sanders himself is Jewish (and his auction house gets 25 percent of the sell price) and pointed out: “The same people who collect Adolf Hitler (items) collect George Washington, or World War II, or George Patton. You have the whole gamut. There’s white supremacist collectors of Hitler, and there’s Jewish collectors of Hitler items.”
Still, the book that encapsulated Adolf Hitler’s disdain for Jews and helped create an atmosphere of ethnic and religious hatred toward Semites, a contributing factor to the complicity of the general German populace during the rise and reign of Hitler, brought only half as much as some documents auctioned in August 2013 that came from the hand of the man who became famous for defying the Nazi regime’s move toward genocide: Oskar Schindler.
Schindler, a German industrialist, was credited for saving the lives of over a thousand Jews during the Nazi Holocaust.
A letter among the documents that was signed by Schindler himself sold for $59,135 and the lot went for $122,000. The auction house told Reuters that the documents were a “bookend” to the period in Oskar Schindler’s life that was immortalized in the book, Schindler’s Ark, which became the basis for the screenplay for the Oscar award-winning motion picture “Schindler’s List” from director Steven Spielberg and starring Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler.