Gun taken in US conquest of Berlin in 1945; part of earnings donated to ADL.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
A rare German gun that might have been owned by Adolf Hitler sold for $140,025 (â‚¬116,960.41) in an online auction that ended Thursday night.
At least 60 bids had been put in for the weapon and its web page was viewed more than 13,400 times.
Wes Lane, owner of Midwest Exchange, the Bloomington, Illinois pawn shop that hosted the auction, said he was "ecstatic" about the final sale price.
"This is a good investment for whoever's buying it," he said.
Bidding began Jan. 30 at www.gunbroker.com and stalled for days at $13,000 (â‚¬10,859) before rising as Thursday's deadline loomed. Experts say late bidding flurries are common in online auctions.
The gun is worth about $7,000 (â‚¬5,846.98) without a connection to Hitler, Lane said. But he had predicted the possible Hitler link would drive up the price and speculated Thursday that the gun's value could double or triple in a few years given the publicity surrounding its sale.
No one knows for sure whether Hitler owned the Krieghoff Drilling shotgun/rifle engraved with the initials "A.H."
Randall Gibson, author of "The Krieghoff Parabellum," a reference book on the gunmaker, has said the gun likely is authentic. He said the company gave engraved guns to Hitler and other high-ranking German officials as it sought military contracts before World War II.
The gun's owners, who live in central Illinois but have not been identified, say the gun originally was taken as a souvenir when US forces seized a Hitler hideaway in May 1945, Lane said. It was later sold to an Army lieutenant who was unaware of its connection to Hitler.
He kept it under his bed for years, taking it out only occasionally to hunt, Lane said. He died more than a decade ago and his family no longer wants the gun.
The owners say they will donate a portion of auction proceeds to the Anti-Defamation League, a US group that combats anti-Semitism and bigotry. League officials have said they would prefer the gun be donated to a museum where it could be safeguarded and not potentially wind up in the hands of a Hitler admirer.
Lane said the gun likely sparked interest among gun collectors and history buffs.
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