Tea with Hitler

A fine-looking silver teapot is expected to fetch up to $1,500 (£920) at a US auction this week. Add another $300 (£185), and you could bid for a silver dessert fork. The appeal, albeit a warped one, is that they once belonged to Adolf Hitler.

Hitler, whose diet was often poor, especially in his latter years, was an avid tea drinker and consumer of cake. The teapot, seven inches tall, is embossed with the Nazi eagle and swastika combined with his initials, while the delicate three-pronged fork with its beaded edge also bears his ‘AH’.

These macabre items are to be sold by auctioneers Alexander Historical Auctions based in the Connecticut town of Stamford.

Also on sale are a serving bowl with lid, a serving platter and a soup bowl, which, between them, could fetch up to $2,000 (£1,230). All three pieces of dinnerware are adorned with a gold-embossed Nazi eagle and are rare pieces of Allach porcelain.

Established in 1935, Allach porcelain, named after a small town near Munich, was taken over by SS boss, Heinrich Himmler, within its first year of trading and was soon saving costs by utilising slave labour from the notorious concentration camp at nearby Dachau. Its logo, as hallmarked on the bottom of these three pieces of crockery, is strikingly similar to the double ‘S’ insignia of the feared SS.

All proof, if further proof were needed, that almost seventy years after his suicide, Hitler still sells. Last November, in Bristol, two pieces of the Führer’s monogrammed bed linen fetched more than £3,000 at auction.

The buyers we might assume are neo-Nazis or at least apologists for Adolf Hitler and his regime. Not so, says Bill Panagopulos, president of Alexander Historical Auctions, who reckons they wouldn’t have either ‘the brains or the money’. Panagopulos, who last year told a German newspaper that he would ‘even sell Hitler’s moustache’ given the chance, says instead, ‘it’s often wealthy Jewish people… or universities and museums.’

Bill may not have Hitler’s moustache, but he does have a bottle of Bordeaux from the wine cellar at the Berghof, Hitler’s retreat in the mountains of Bavaria.

But while Bill’s Bordeaux may not be for sale, his bidders may want to consider his top item next week, a bust of Hitler. Eighteen inches tall and made of bronze, it was one of several owned by Hitler’s propaganda minister, the sinister Joseph Goebbels, and is expected to fetch a tidy $6,000 (£3,700).

Rupert Colley

Read more about Hitler in Hitler: History In An Hour published by Harper Press and available in various digital formats and as audio.

Rupert Colley’s novella, My Brother the Enemy, set during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, is now available.